QUINCY, Ill. – Fifth-year senior Blake Leeson ensured Ohio State Men’s Volleyball was walking out of the arena with a road MIVA victory in-hand. He was responsible for a match-high 21 points after blasting 16 kills on 23 errorless attempts, adding five blocks (1s, 4a) and two aces. The Buckeyes (5-9, 1-3 MIVA) split a pair of two-point sets with Quincy (4-10, 0-4 MIVA) while taking the other two sets by 25-19 ledgers (25-23, 25-19, 24-26, 25-19).
Tyler Alter ranked second on the squad with 13 kills and four blocks (1s, 3a) for 15.5 points. Jack Stevens joined the aforementioned two with double-digit kills as well, putting away 10 at a .238 clip. Parker Mikesch steered the ship to a .272 team hitting percentage. He averaged 11.33 assists per set. Luke Meidel was everywhere in the defensive backcourt digging 14 balls.
SET 1: Alter cracked the starting lineup and paid immediate dividends, terminating half of his 10 first-set swings. His six points (added two block assists) were matched by Leeson’s half dozen tallies on three kills, two aces and two block assists. A quick glance at the stat sheet would lead one to believe Set 1 was lopsided, but that was not the case as Ohio State could only separate by two points. This though came after the Buckeyes stormed back form a four-point deficit at 16-12 to pull ahead for good at 19-18 on a 7-2 run.
SET 2: The Buckeyes shifted into a higher gear for the second, attacking .452 guided by Mikesch’s 14 assists. Leeson and Austin Gerwig combined for eight kills on 10 swings from the middle while Stevens delivered a 4-0-5 attacking line. Ohio State grabbed a 6-5 lead thanks to a Leeson kill and never looked back in the 25-19 winner.
SET 3: Ohio State owned a 17-15 edge prior to the Hawks’ five-point surge resulting in a 20-15 advantage for the home squad. The score locked back up at 20-20, 21-21, 23-23 and 24-24. Back-to-back Buckeye attacking errors then halted the stalemate though, extending the contest into a fourth frame.
SET 4: Superb defensive performance fueled the Scarlet and Gray in Set 4. The Buckeyes threw up four blocks and dug 19 balls in limiting Quincy to a .026 hitting percentage. Kyle Skinner registered eight digs alone in the set. Ohio State secured nine of the match’s final 13 rallies, transforming a slim 16-15 upper hand into the 25-19 final nail.
Not one, but two nationally-ranked opponents come to Columbus next week as conference play continues with home matches against No. 10 Lewis and No. 7 Loyola Chicago. Ohio State hosts the Flyers on Thursday, Feb. 21 (7 p.m. ET) and the Ramblers on Sunday, Feb. 24 (2 p.m. ET).