April 17, 2014


COLUMBUS, Ohio – Postseason play has arrived and the Ohio State men’s volleyball team travels to Fort Wayne, Ind., Saturday to face No. 14 IPFW in the Midwestern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association quarterfinals. The Buckeyes (11-15, 6-8 MIVA) enter as the fifth seed squaring off against the fourth-seeded Mastodons (20-6, 9-5).

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The Mastodons are hosting their first MIVA Tournament game since 2007. IPFW is 25-24 all-time in the MIVA Tourney, including a 7-5 mark at home. Three Mastodons were named All-MIVA, Andrew Sellan on the First Team, Eddie Rivera and Omar Rivera as Second Teamers.

Sellan paces the team with 3.26 kills per set and 371 points. Omar Rivera is the team’s primary setter, guiding the offense to a .306 team hitting percentage. Eddie Rivera is second on the team, averaging 2.99 kills per set.

Ohio State issued the first blow against No. 1 Loyola, winning the opening set 25-19 before the Ramlbers took the final three frames and the match. Redshirt junior Andrew Lutz caem up just one dig shy of his third double-double this season, finishing with a team-high 13 kils and nine digs. Freshman Miles Johnson joined Lutz in the double-digit kills club last Friday night, putting away a dozen attacks. Juniors Michael Henchy and Dustan Neary led the way up front defensively with five blocks apiece as the Buckeyes out-blocked Loyola, 10-5.

Historic St. John Arena has been home to the Ohio State men’s volleyball team since the program started in 1968. The Buckeyes have amassed a record of 491-100 in 46 years and have totaled six undefeated seasons at home.

In its 46th season in the league, the Ohio State men’s volleyball program has an impressive 398-105 overall record in the Midwestern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association (MIVA). The Buckeyes have captured a conference-best 24 regular season titles and 14 MIVA Tournament championships. Overall, Ohio State has produced 20 MIVA player of the year awards and has garnered 174 all-MIVA selections

Under head coach Pete Hanson, Ohio State is 254-84 and has won 15 regular season titles over Hanson’s 29 seasons. He has been named the conference’s coach of the year 11 times and has guided the team to 10 MIVA tournament crowns.

Ohio State middle blocker Driss Guessous was voted as the MIVA Freshman of the Year by the league’s eight head coaches. He becomes the third Buckeye named MIVA Freshman of the Year since 2005. Daniel Mathews and John Albertson won the award back-to-back seasons in 2005-06. Guessous was also placed on the All-MIVA First Team.

Guessous, a redshirt freshman from Pasadena, Calif., led the conference throughout the entire season with a .446 hitting percentage. He also ranked seventh with 0.88 blocks per set. His defensive efforts earned him MIVA Defensive Player of the Week recognition earlier this season (Feb. 11) after racking up 11 blocks for a 1.38 per set average against Penn State and Saint Francis.

Redshirt junior Andrew Lutz earned Second Team All-MIVA honors this week, his second straight season doing so. He has put away 3.58 kills per set, the fifth-highest rate in the conference. His 4.1 points average is also in the top-10, ranking seventh heading into the tournament.

He picked up MIVA Offensive Player of the Week laurels three times this season, most recently after a 4.31 kills per set performance out on the west coast versus Cal State Northridge and Long Beach State (March 14-15). Defensively, Lutz has dug 1.43 balls per set, good for 24th most in the league.

Setter Christy Blough and middle blocker Driss Guessous have both been selected as Freshmen All-Americans by Off The Block. The Off the Block/Springbak, Inc. Freshmen All-American Team is the only of its kind presented in men’s college volleyball.

Ohio State and USC are the only two schools with multiple players to make the nine-member squad. The Off the Block/Springbak, Inc. Freshmen All-American Team is chosen by a nationwide voting committee consisting of 22 men’s volleyball head coaches and volleyball reporters from around the country.

Five Buckeyes have totaled double-doubles this season with junior outside hitter Michael Henchy leading the way with four so far. The Ventura, Calif., product recently totaled a double-double against MIVA rival Lindenwood, having 19 kills and 12 digs against the Lions.

Freshman Christy Blough and redshirt junior Andrew Lutz each has a pair of double-doubles this year. Blough picked up his first against Cal State Northridge (57 assists, 11 digs) and followed with another at Ball State (49a, 11d). Highlighting Lutz’s performances was his 29 kills and 12 digs against CSU Northridge. Redshirt junior Peter Heinen had a double-double at home against Ball State with 47 assists and 11 digs. Freshman outside hitter Miles Johnson earned the first of his career at Long Beach State, totaling 11 kills and 11 digs.

The Buckeye back row has put together big numbers as of late for the Ohio State defense. Leading the way for the squad is junior outside hitter Michael Henchy. The Ventura, Calif., native has a team-best 171 digs this season with a 1.76 average (49th nationally). His 1.94 average in league play ranks eighth. He has totaled five double-digit dig performances this year, including a season-high 15 at Long Beach State.

Freshmen Miles Johnson and Christy Blough have put together career dig numbers recently and the pair is averaging 1.41 and 1.13 digs per set, respectively. Each has two performances with double-digit digs this year. Classmate Gabriel Domecus has four matches with double-digit digs, while junior Andrew Lutz has three.

A pair of middles in Driss Guessous and Dustan Neary has provided big numbers for the Buckeyes both defensively and offensively at the net. Guessous, a redshirt freshman from Pasadena, Calif., has a team-best 91 (24s, 67a) blocks on the season for .91 average. Neary, a junior from Ventura, Calif., is second on the team with a .83 average and has 79 (7s, 72a) blocks.

The duo is also doing great things offensively for Ohio State as each are among the Top-5 in kills on the squad. Guessous is third with 258 kills on the season and a 2.58 average. His .446 attack percentage is tops in the MIVA and ranks fourth nationally. To be ranked, a hitter must average 3.0 attempts per set. Neary has a 1.18 kills average and is hitting a solid .423 at the net.

A trio of true freshmen has been solid contributors to the Ohio State squad this season in Miles Johnson, Christy Blough and Gabriel Domecus.

Johnson, who hails from Carlsbad, Calif., has stepped up offensively for the Buckeyes. The outside hitter has totaled eight double-digit kill performances, including six in the last 11 matches. He’s averaging 1.94 kills per set to rank fourth on the team. Johnson ranks first on the squad in service aces, having 22 overall.

Blough has started 20 matches at setter and has a team-best 853 assists with a 10.80 average. He’s reached 50 or more assists six times this season and has two double-doubles (assists/digs) so far. Domecus has started in 19 of the team’s 25 matches this season with 15 at libero. He is second on the squad with 146 digs and a 1.55 average.

A handful of Buckeyes reached career marks at the Active Ankle Classic in Long Beach, Calif., March 14-15.

Highlighting all performances was redshirt junior Andrew Lutz’s offensive production against Cal State Northridge. The North Reading, Mass., product totaled a career-high 29 kills in the match and his 66 attempts also set a career mark.

Freshmen Christy Blough and Miles Johnson each had career performances on the weekend as well. Blough reached 60 assists at Long Beach State and notched the first double-double of his career against CSUN with 57 assists and 11 digs. Johnson set a career-best in digs Saturday with 12 and also picked up a double-double on the weekend with 11 kills and 11 digs against LBSU.

HEAD COACH Pete Hanson
The Buckeyes are led by head coach Pete Hanson, who is in his 30th year with the program. He has guided the Buckeyes to 15 MIVA regular season titles, including the six straight from 2007-2012. Under his direction, Ohio State captured its first NCAA Division I-II title in 2011 as the squad defeated UC Santa Barbara in five sets.

The Buckeyes have totaled 18 20-win seasons with Hanson and have reached the NCAA Championships 10 times. Hanson is 592-320 overall at Ohio State in his 30 seasons and boasts a 254-84 record against MIVA opponents.

Buckeyes Michael Henchy and Driss Guessous earned the opportunity to don the Red, White and Blue this summer, representing the United States at the FIVB Men’s U-21 World Championship held Aug. 22-Sept. 1 in Ankara and Izmir, Turkey.

The pair was selected from a field of 22 in late June to the final 12-player roster. A familiar face was at the helm of the program in Ohio State’s own head coach Pete Hanson and Buckeye assistant Sean Byron also served the same capacity for Team USA.

Team USA struggled a bit throughout the tournament and finished the 20-team championship in 11th overall. Despite leaving Turkey without a medal, Team USA did leave on a high note with a three-set win over rival Canada.

Win, and the Buckeyes advance to the MIVA semifinals on Wednesday (April 23) to face either top-seeded Loyola or the No. 8-seed Quincy. Lose, and the season comes to an end.