May 3, 2017

NCAA Championship Up For Grabs in Columbus


May 3, 2017


COLUMBUS, Ohio – The final four teams left standing in collegiate men’s volleyball will continue to do battle inside St. John Arena for the NCAA Semifinals Thursday (May 4) before coming to a crescendo Saturday evening with the NCAA Finals aired nationally on ESPN2. Top-ranked and defending champion Ohio State begins its title defense versus No. 4-seed Hawaii in Thursday’s second semifinal contest.

Thursday, May 4 – Columbus, Ohio (St. John Arena)
6 p.m. ET – No. 2-seed Long Beach State (27-3) vs. No. 3-seed BYU (25-4)
Live Stats
Video Stream: (free)

8 p.m. ET – No. 1-seed Ohio State (30-2) vs. No. 4-seed Hawaii (27-5)
Live Stats
Video Stream: (free)

Saturday, May 6- Columbus, Ohio (St. John Arena)
7 p.m. ET – NCAA Championship Match
Live Stats: Link to be available at Friday afternoon
Television: ESPN2

Complete Match Notes 

Five members of the Ohio State University men’s volleyball team received 2017 American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) All-America laurels on Monday (May 1). First Team selections, Miles Johnson and Nicolas Szerszen, are joined by Christy Blough (Second Team), Gabriel Domecus (Honorable Mention) and Driss Guessous (Honorable Mention).

Blough, Domecus, Johnson and Szerszen all earned repeat distinctions from last season’s NCAA-Championship-winning campaign while Guessous picks up the ’17 honors after being named to the Second Team in 2014. The five-player group is the largest in Ohio State history, breaking the previous mark of four honorees set just a year ago in 2016.

2017 marks the 50th season for Ohio State Men’s Volleyball, calling St. John Arena home throughout. The historic venue has treated the Buckeyes quite well over the years. Ohio State owns an .839 all-time winning percentage (541-104) inside the friendly confines.

Five different Buckeyes are the NCAA’s active career leader in a major statistical category. No active D I-II player has more career kills than Miles Johnson, more assists than Christy Blough, more digs than Gabriel Domecus, more aces than Nicolas Szerszen or a higher hitting percentage than Driss Guessous.

Ohio State not only owns the country’s best win-lose percentage (.933; 30-2), but is slotted highly in nearly every statistical category as well. The Buckeyes lead nationally with 1.90 aces/set and rank second in hitting percentage (.365); while also being slotted Top-10 with an opponent hitting percentage of .190 (4th), 13.06 kills/set (6th), 12.18 assists/set (6th) and 2.37 blocks/set (10th).

Individually, four Buckeyes rank Top-20 in an NCAA statistical category:
Nicolas Szerszen | .63 aces/set (1st), 4.54 points/set (9th), .385 hitting percentage (9th), 3.70 kills/set (11th)
Miles Johnson | 4.75 points/set (6th), 3.88 kill/set (8th), .46 aces/set (12th), .338 hitting percentage (20th)
Christy Blough | 10.38 assists/set (6th)
Blake Leeson | 1.00 blocks/set (20th)

Assistant coach Kevin Burch has been on the coaching staff of an NCAA national championship program for six consecutive years. The 2016 crown completed a circle for Burch as the championship streak started with the OSU graduate serving as Ohio State’s volunteer assistant coach during the 2011 title run. He has not gone an entire academic year without bringing home NCAA hardware as a collegiate volleyball coaching staff member:

2016-17 – To be determined – Ohio State (assistant coach) | 30-2
2015-16 – NCAA Men’s National Champions – Ohio State (assistant coach) | 31-1
2014-15 – NCAA Women’s National Champions – Penn State (director of operations) | 34-2
2013-14 – NCAA D-III Men’s National Champions – Springfield College (assistant coach) | 27-8
2012-13 – NCAA Men’s National Champions – UC Irvine (assistant coach) | 25-7
2011-12 – NCAA D-III Men’s National Champions – Springfield College (assistant coach) | 33-5
2010-11 – NCAA Men’s National Champions – Ohio State (volunteer assistant coach) | 26-6

Since joining the OSU coaching staff for the 2011 season, Burch’s teams have posted an overall winning percentage of .869 (206-31).He was selected to the American Volleyball Coaches Association ‘Thirty Under 30’ list on April 7, 2017.

Ohio State captured its league-best 26th MIVA regular season championship (Ball State ranks second with 21) way back on March 31 before going on to post a 16-0 conference record. It marks just the second team in the last 25 years to run through a MIVA regular season unbeaten (Loyola went 14-0 in 2014). The Buckeyes have not lost to a MIVA opponent in 32 straight match-ups. Ohio State also leads the conference all-time with 16 MIVA Tournament crowns. Miles Johnson earned Most Outstanding Player dinstinction in the 2017 MIVA Touranment and he was joined on the all-tourney team by Christy Blough and Nicolas Szerszen.

Ohio State dominated the 2017 All-MIVA postseason awards announced on Thursday (Apr. 13):
Pete Hanson was named the MIVA Coach of the Year for the 13th time overall and second straight season
Nicolas Szerszen earned back-to-back MIVA Player of the Year accolades
• Szerszen is joined on the All-MIVA First Team by Christy Blough and Miles Johnson
Gabriel Domecus and Driss Guessous were voted to the All-MIVA Second Team
Maxime Hervoir received All-MIVA Honorable Mention
• Eighteen different Buckeyes have been named MIVA Player of the Year a total of 22 times
• Hanson is one of seven OSU leaders voted as the league’s Coach of the Year, a group totaling 23 awards

Pete Hanson has roamed the sideline as Ohio State men’s volleyball head coach for more than three decades and March 18 at Lewis was his 1,000th career match as the Buckeye leader. In 1,010 contests, Hanson owns an overall winning percentage of .668 (675-335) which includes a 296-90 (.767) ledger in MIVA play. The four-time National Coach of the Year has guided OSU to a pair of NCAA titles, 17 MIVA regular season championships and 12 MIVA Tournament trophies.

Ohio State was positioned atop the AVCA Coaches Poll for 11 consecutive weeks (2016 final poll through March 6, 2017). That stretch marked just the seventh time since 1986, when the AVCA first released a weekly poll, in which a team has manned the top spot for 11 weeks in a row. The Buckeyes have been slotted inside the Top-2 in 22 straight polls (ranked fourth on March 14, 2016).

• Ohio State registered a 42-match winning streak from Feb. 6, 2016 through March 10, 2017 (398 days)
• Marks the longest winning streak in OSU Athletics history for teams competing in head-to-head competition
• Also represents the MIVA’s all-time best (previous: Loyola – 40 matches in 2014-15)
• Ohio State won 126 of 152 sets (83%) during the victorious stretch
• The streak included six wins over Top-5 opponents and 18 against teams ranked inside the Top-12
• UCLA set the all-time record of 47 straight in both 1979-80 and 1983-85
• OSU also registered a streak of 20 straight wins in true road matches from 2015 until March 28, 2017