January 5, 2019

Late Fourth Set Surge Leads to Victory


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COLUMBUS, Ohio – The No. 8 Ohio State University men’s volleyball team (2-0) concluded 2019’s opening weekend by capturing its second win in as many nights, handing Penn State (0-1) a four-set defeat (25-13, 20-25, 25-21, 26-24). Sanil Thomas steered the OSU offense to a .380 hitting percentage with a total of 46 assists.



Jake Hanes was the most frequent recipient of those Thomas’ sets, taking 46 swings and attacking .413 with 24 kills compared to five errors. Reese Devilbiss took roughly half the amount of attempts while posting a similar efficiency (.400; 12-2-25). Blake Leeson delivered when called upon, pounding nine kills of 14 error-free attacks (.643).

There was a communal effort in the defensive backcourt as five different Buckeyes dug between five and nine balls.


SET 1:  Ohio State hitting .320 and recording five aces combined with the Nittany Lions’ seven attack errors resulted in a lopsided first set score of 25-13. Hanes was directly responsible for 7.5 points, putting up four kills, three aces and a block assist.

SET 2:  Penn State showed some bite in the second, responding from the lackluster first frame by racing out to a 6-2 edge. The Nittany Lions rolled along at a .500 hitting clip (17-3-28) and made a few plays late when needed in the 25-20 equalizer. Hanes did everything he could to lift Ohio State, rocking nine kills in the set.

SET 3:  Ohio State surrendered the lead for the first time in the set at 18-17 following a three-point PSU spurt. The Buckeyes would go to snag eight of the next 11 tallies though, emerging as 25-21 victors. Hanes tacked on seven more kills while Leeson and Austin Gerwig inflicted maximum damage from the middle, combing for seven kills on seven hacks.

SET 4:  Back-and-forth it went in the fourth, evidenced by 15 tied scores. Neither team mustered an edge of more than three points throughout the entire set. Penn State earned two set-point opportunities leading 24-22, both of which were denied by the Scarlet & Gray. Sophomore transfer Kyle Skinner then toed the baseline and ripped the go-ahead ace, 25-24. The six-foot tall Sanil Thomas, alongside Gerwig, then rejected Penn State’s Matthew McLaren (6’4″) for the night’s final point in a crowd-rousing moment.

#BuckeyeNation’s favorite walk-on basketball player was in the house, too, offering up his thoughts on Sanil Thomas: