COLUMBUS, Ohio – The No. 14 Ohio State University men’s volleyball team (9-4, 1-1 MIVA) rode the hot hand of freshman setter Michael Wright as he scattered 39 assists in a 25-20, 29-27, 25-23 sweep over MIVA foe McKendree University (7-6, 1-2 MIVA). Wright steered the Buckeyes to a .340 team hitting percentage, connecting with a quintet of teammates recording seven or more kills.
Martin Lallemand paced the offense quantitatively with 14 kills while Austin Gerwig’s .727 hitting percentage (8-0-11) represented the squad’s most efficient effort. Samuel Clark settled somewhere in the middle, good for 10 kills at a .562 attacking rate.
Wright was a key contributor defensively as well, getting in a on a team-high three blocks. In the backcourt, it was Luke Meidel shining brightest by digging 10 balls.
Set 1: Ohio State came at the Bearcats from all angles in the opening frame. Multiple kills were produced by five different Buckeyes. Gerwig (four attempts), Lallemand (three) and Clark (two) combined to terminate all nine of their swings. As if the .542 team attacking efficiency wasn’t enough to lead to victory, the Buckeyes got up for three blocks to stymie McKendree’s offensive response.
Set 2: It got a lil whacky in the second. Play spilled into overtime and kept going until Clark’s fifth kill of the set was followed by an errant Bearcat attack to end the frame, 29-27. Clark went 5-for-5, including Ohio State’s 27th and 28th points. The Buckeyes faced set point for McKendree three times, deflecting each to stay alive and ultimately take the set.
Set 3: The Bearcats shot themselves in the foot repeatedly, self-inflicted victims of eight attacking errors landing the net or out of bounds. Ohio State suffered some its own offensive woes, however, to keep the score tight. The tally was tied as late as 20-20 before the Buckeyes snagged five of the next eight rallies to seal the deal.
Ohio State continues its MIVA slate next week, but does so away from the friendly confines of the Covelli Center. A weekend road trip awaits, heading to Loyola Chicago for a Friday (Feb. 21) match at 8 p.m. ET to get it started. The Buckeyes will then wake up Saturday morning and hop on a bus destined for Purdue University Fort Wayne, facing the No. 9 Mastodons at 7 p.m. ET.