April 9, 2016
COLUMBUS, Ohio — The Ohio State University men’s volleyball team laid claim to the 2016 Midwestern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association (MIVA) outright regular season championship Saturday night with a 3-0 decision (25-19, 25-22, 25-23) over Lindenwood (5-17, 3-13). The MIVA crown-clinching victory marks the 16th consecutive Buckeye victory overall. Top-seeded Ohio State (24-3, 14-1) has earned the right to host each of its MIVA Tournament contests.
-Ohio State now owns a MIVA-best 25 regular season championships all-time
-First MIVA title since 2012
-First outright MIVA title since 2011
-Ohio State’s 16-match winning streak is the longest since a 17-match victorious stretch (15 vs. Division I-II opponents) en route to the 2011 NCAA National Championship
-Ohio State’s 16-match winning streak is the longest vs. Division I-II opponents since 20 consecutive in 1998
The Buckeyes garnered their eighth sweep since Feb. 12 (when the winning streak started), ending Lindenwood’s season in three sets. Ohio State attacked .345 as a team, bouncing 44 kills in total. Freshman setter Sanil Thomas got the start in place of a resting Christy Blough, and delivered 38 assists, two digs and two blocks. Nicolas Szerszen was the biggest beneficiary of Thomas’ sets, drilling 16 kills on 27 errorless swings (.593). Miles Johnson was responsible for 14 points on 12 kills and two service aces. Driss Guessous was on the receiving end of only seven sets, but did the most with his limited opportunities by terminating five kills.
Defensively, Gabriel Domecus paced the squad with seven digs. Ohio State recorded a half dozen blocks in total, half of which Szerszen got in on (1s, 2a).
Ohio State came out on fire, hitting .538 in the opening set and rolling to a 25-19 triumph. The first five Lindendwood points came accompanied with Buckeye errors, placing OSU in a 5-4 hole. The next five tallies went in favor of Ohio State, however, shifting the lead over to the Buckeyes for good. Johnson and Szerszen dropped in six kills apiece in the frame.
Things slowed down a bit in set number two as the two foes combined for seven blocks and held each other to 11 kills each. Ohio State’s three service aces proved to be the difference though in a 25-22 final tally. Lindenwood’s three-point run to even the score at 15-15 was swiftly answered by the Scarlet & Gray ripping off four straight to go ahead for good.
`Rinse. Repeat’ was the name of the game for Ohio State in the subsequent set as a 15-15 stalemate was broken up as part of another four-point run corralling the sustained Buckeye edge. Back-to-back Szerszen kills forced a Lion timeout at 17-15. The Frenchman would pile on three more kills by set’s end, running his third-set sum to eight put-aways.
Despite one match left on the MIVA docket (Ohio State hosting Quincy at 5 pm on Sunday – April 10), the conference tournament bracket has been set. Top-seeded Ohio State will play host to No. 8 seed IPFW next Sunday (April 17) at 7 p.m. ET.