April 22, 2016
COLUMBUS, Ohio — An automatic bid for the 2016 NCAA Men’s Volleyball Tournament is on the line Saturday, April 23 at 7 p.m. ET; earned by the MIVA Tournament Finals victor between No. 2 Ohio State (27-3) and No. 12 Lewis (19-12).
MATCH COVERAGE LINKS
Live Stats: GameTracker
Video Stream: Buckeye Vision ($)
WHAT’S ON THE LINE FOR OHIO STATE
With a win:
-Ohio State claims its 15th MIVA Tournament title, breaking a tie with Ball State for the most in conference history
-Ohio State earns an automatic bid for the NCAA Tournament and dramatically improves chances of receiving a top-2 seed to advance straight to the Final Four
-Ohio State extends winning streak to 20 consecutive matches
-Ohio State improves to 28-3 on the season, marking the most season wins since the 1993 squad went 28-10
With a loss:
-Ohio State drops to 27-4 on the season and awaits word on a possible at-large bid for the NCAA Tournament
-19-match winning streak snapped
HISTORY WITH THE FLYERS
The Buckeyes own a 30-20 advantage in the all-time series versus Lewis, including an 18-10 mark inside St. John Arena. Ohio State defeated the Flyers twice earlier this season, completing a regular season sweep over both 2015 NCAA Finalists, Lewis and Loyola, for the first time since 2008. In five all-time MIVA Tournament meetings (all in Columbus), Lewis has arose victorious four times. The most recent postseason clash came in the 2012 MIVA Finals, a five-set triumph for the Flyers.
MIVA POSTSEASON AWARDS
The 2016 Midwestern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association Coach of the Year and Player of the Year are both Buckeyes; Pete Hanson and Nicolas Szerszen more specifically. Hanson became a 12-time recipient of the conference recognition while Szerszen is the 18th different Ohio State player to earn it and marks the 21st time overall the award has gone to a Buckeye.
Szerszen, the first MIVA Player of the Year from OSU since Shawn Sangrey in 2012, is joined on the All-MIVA First Team by teammates Christy Blough and Miles Johnson. Gabriel Domecus and Christian Franceschi were voted by the conference’s nine head coaches as All-MIVA Second Team members while Blake Leeson received All-MIVA Honorable Mention. Johnson and Szerzen are now both two-time All-MIVA performers after cracking the lineup last season as well.
BUCKEYES ON A ROLL … AGAIN
Ohio State is riding a 19-match winning streak into the MIVA Finals seizing 57 of 69 sets since Feb. 12. It marks the longest Buckeye victorious stretch since the `98 squad rattled off 22 in a row (20 vs. D I-II opponents).
Ohio State strung together seven consecutive wins (six sweeps) during a three-week stretch earlier this season as well. The Buckeyes outscored those seven opponents by a combined 143 points, averaging a scoring margin of 20-plus points per triumph, from Jan. 8-Feb. 4.
Ohio State enters the MIVA Finals owners of the nation’s best winning percentage in NCAA competition (McMaster not recognized by the NCAA) at 27-2 (.931). The Buckeye offensive attack is a huge reason why, ranking second in the country for both hitting efficiency (.360) and service aces (1.90/set). Ohio State’s 13.21 kills/set are third-best nationally.
Individually, Nicolas Szerszen is slotted top-10 in several different categories: 5.19 points/set (3rd), 4.38 kills/set (4th), .48 aces/set (5th) and .407 attacking efficiency (9th). Christy Blough paces the NCAA with 11.30 assists per set while Christian Franceschi’s .44 aces/set and Miles Johnson’s .41 aces/set rate are rated 11th and 13th, respectively, on the national stage. Johnson is also among the top-15 for points (4.39/set; 14th) and kills (3.67/set; 15th).
BUCKEYES CROWNED CONFERENCE CHAMPS
The Buckeyes laid claim to the 2016 MIVA regular season championship, earning the MIVA Tourney’s top seed. Ohio State owns a MIVA-best 25 regular season titles all-time after a 15-1 league mark this season.