COLUMBUS, Ohio – The No. 14 Ohio State University men’s volleyball team returned to the win column Saturday night (Feb. 2), handing Lincoln Memorial University (5-3) a four-set defeat. Three of four frames ended with a 25-23 ledger, two going in favor of the Buckeyes. Ohio State added a 25-19 second stanza to improve to 4-5 on the season (25-23, 25-19, 23-25, 25-23).
Blake Leeson attacked over .800 for the second time this season, terminating 12 of 14 error-free attempts (went 11-for-13 vs. Erskine). The Buckeye senior raised his season hitting percentage to .550. He matched Sean Ryan with a team-high four blocks (1s, 3a) as well.
Speaking of Ryan, the freshman from Countryside, Ill., discarded his redshirt Friday and exploded for 14 kills at a .345 attacking rate in his second collegiate match the following evening. With 13 digs, Ryan was one of two Buckeyes to register a double-double. Reese Devilbiss was the other, accumulating 13 kills and 10 digs while swinging .346 (13-4-26). Aaron Samarin paced all players with 16 digs in the four-set affair.
Ethan Talley, one of three true freshmen in the starting lineup for the second straight night, was responsible for eight kills at a .462 clip. Guiding him and the entire Buckeye offense was fellow true freshman Parker Miskesch. He is a libero by nature and has never been a full-time setter in his life … until this weekend. With all three setters on the OSU roster out of commission, Mikesch took the reins and admirably dished out 53 assists (13.25/set) in steering the Buckeyes to a .328 team hitting percentage.
The trifecta of ‘25-23’ sets included a total of 30 tied scores and 14 lead changes, separating the two squads by inches.
SET 1: Locked up at 22-22, Devilbiss rose to the occasion. His fifth kill of the set pushed Ohio State ahead. Devilbiss then walked to the baseline and ripped a service ace to deliver the first Buckeye set point. Following a temporary delay because of an LMU kill, Martin Lallamend then closed it out with a set-clinching kill, 25-23.
SET 2: Ohio State maintained possession of momentum in the second, rolling along offensively to a .484 rhythm (19-4-31) and nearly doubling the Railsplitters’ digs effort (9 to 5). Leeson bounced five kills and the Buckeyes entered intermission with a 2-0 edge in-hand thanks to a 25-19 triumph.
— Matt McCoy (@MattMcCoyZone) February 3, 2019
SET 3: Lincoln Memorial took its turn constructing a late-set surge in the third, breaking up a 19-19 stalemate by rattling off four consecutive points to go up 23-19. Ohio State would respond by cutting its deficit to a lone point at 23-22 and 24-23 before the Railsplitters ultimately closed it out and forced a fifth set as 25-23 victors.
SET 4: Fast forward to a tie late in the set once again. This time its 23-23 when Ryan and Devilbiss connect on back-to-back kills set up by Mikesch to slam the door shut.
It is a quick turnaround for the Scarlet & Gray, jumping back into conference play for a road match at Purdue Fort Wayne on Tuesday, Feb. 4.