The Ohio State University men’s volleyball team (8-16, 3-7 MIVA) embarks on its final regular season road trip for conference matches at No. 11 Loyola Chicago (15-7, 8-2 MIVA) and No. 8 Lewis (18-5, 9-1 MIVA) on March 22-23. Both contests are set for 8 p.m. ET starts.
HISTORY WITH THE FLYERS AND RAMBLERS
The Buckeyes began playing both Chicagoland opponents in the mid-90s upon their entry into the MIVA. Ohio State leads the all-time series over both Lewis (35-22) and Loyola Chicago (37-21). Matches contested in or near the Windy City have predictably been a bit tougher for OSU over the years. The Buckeyes maintain an upper hand, 13-11, in Romeoville but trail the Ramblers in Chicago, 14-11.
Lewis, Loyola Chicago and Ohio State have combined to claim the last 21 straight MIVA regular season titles with the lone exception being a co-championships shared by Ball State and the Ramblers in 2002. That anomaly was sandwiched by since-vacated crowns for Lewis in 2001 and 2003.
BEYOND THE BLOCK O – Ohio State Men’s Volleyball
OhioStateBuckeyes.com went behind the scenes of Ohio State Men’s Volleyball to pull the curtain back a bit and offer Buckeye Nation insight into the three-time national championship program. Four episodes were produced and posted RIGHT HERE. A must-watch for all Buckeye fans.
HANES THE HULK
Prior to suffering a foot injury on Jan. 25 at Ball State, redshirt sophomore Jake Hanes was leading the country in both kills and points per game. Returned to full-time duty on March 1 and immediately racked up 47 kills in a two-match weekend, including a 25-kill performance which ranks as the second most in a four-set match by any player this season. His 23 kills at BYU earlier in the season (Jan. 10) still stand as the most nationally in a three-set contest for 2019.
No active player in D-I NCAA Men’s Volleyball has played in more matches or thrown up more blocks than Blake Leeson. The fifth-year Buckeye senior has logged 121 matches and registered 378 stuffs. In addition, his .457 career hitting percentage ranks second among all active players.
In terms of Buckeye lore, Leeson has made an impression in the OSU record books as well. He enters the week ranked top-20 in hitting percentage (4th; .457) solo blocks (7th; 61), total blocks (9th; 378), block assists (11th; 317), aces (12th; 76) and blocks/set (19th; .86).
LEESON AMONG THE NATION’S MOST EFFICIENT ATTACKERS
Speaking of Mr. Leeson, he is attacking at a .473 clip (167-29-292) to rank fifth best nationally and second in the MIVA (it also currently slots him seventh all-time in Ohio State history for a single season).
WHO’S THE NEW GUY(S)?
As injuries and illness have ravaged the Buckeye roster this season, a large contingency of fresh faces have been called on to provide a heavy work load. A total of seven first-year Buckeyes (five freshmen, two sophomore transfers) have seen significant action and produced 45% of the team’s assists (441), 36% of the blocks (93), 26% of the points (343) and 25% of the service aces (32), kills (263) and digs (175).
LEESON TO COMPETE IN THE WORLD UNIVERSITY GAMES
Blake Leeson is one of 12 individuals picked to represent Team USA in the World University Games (July 3-14) in Napoli, Italy.
TALLEY MARKS A TALLY IN THE OHIO STATE RECORD BOOKS
In just his seventh career match, freshman Ethan Talley placed his name in the schoool record books when he terminated all 10 attempts against McKendree on March 1. Talley became fifth Buckeye to ever finish a match hitting 1.000 (minimum of 10 attempts). It represents one of only two such performances in the NCAA this season, joining Long Beach State’s Simon Anderson who went 11-for-11 in the season opener against Grand Canyon.