April 14, 2018

Buckeyes Buzz by Hawks in Straight Sets


COLUMBUS, Ohio — The top-seeded Buckeyes (21-5) opened up the Midwestern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association (MIVA) Tournament by racing past Quincy (12-19) in a three-set sweep (25-22, 25-18, 25-12). The conference’s three-time reigning Player of the Year, Nicolas Szerszen, carried the heaviest load and contributed 20 points (14 kills, five aces, two block assists) on the evening.

Szerszen’s 14 kills pushed his career total to 1,599, just four terminations shy of setting the all-time Ohio State record (Steve Potter 1,602 kills; 1992-95). He already owns the best mark for career aces (226) and points (1,934). The Buckeye senior did it all Saturday night, also pacing the squad with nine digs and getting in on two of the team’s five blocks.

Jake Hanes, Maxime Hervoir and Blake Leeson each contributed a half dozen kills or more. Leeson was the most efficient among all players, bouncing six of nine error-free swings (.667). Aaron Samarin complimented Szerszen in the defensive back court, digging seven balls.

Ohio State’s lengthy history with the Hawks began in 1993 and spans 59 matches. The Buckeyes have dropped a total of just 16 sets in garnering a 57-2 overall record versus Quincy.

SET 1: Quincy’s Anthony Winter was the top gun in set number one, putting away seven kills to keep his squad in it despite falling behind 18-11. The Hawks clawed back and cut the deficit to three at 23-20. That cushion would remain at set’s end though, 25-22, in favor of the Scarlet & Gray.

SET 2: The Buckeyes doubled up Quincy in the digs department, thwarting 10 Hawk attacks by digging the ball while connected on 12 kills slowed by just five QU digs. Ohio State limited the opposition to an .087 team hitting percentage while ascending to .476 on its offensive side of the net. The Buckeyes pulled away midway through the frame and went ahead two sets to none on a 25-18 winner.

SET 3: An exclamation point was tacked on in the third, allowing head coach Pete Hanson to empty the bench and send 12 different Buckeyes on to the floor in the final frame alone. Ohio State threw up three blocks and pounded 13 kills in a convincing closer, 25-12.

Next up is the MIVA Semifinals versus Lewis on Wednesday (April 18), held in Columbus at St. John Arena.