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March 13, 2015

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COLUMBUS, Ohio – St. John Arena sent away another defeated foe Friday night as No. 11 Ohio State improved to 10-0 at home and handed No. 2 Lewis (15-2, 6-1 MIVA) its first conference loss of the season. The Buckeyes move to 14-4 overall and 7-2 in league action following a five-set win over the Flyers (25-23, 25-27, 34-32, 16-25, 16-14).

Senior captain Michael Henchy put the Buckeyes on his back for much of the evening, obliterating a career-high 32 kills with just one error on 41 attempts (.756; also a career best). He showed out when his squad needed him the most. His service ace mercifully put an end to a marathon third set, closing it out 34-32. Henchy then upped the ante in set number five, wrapping it up with consecutive kills to convert a 14-14 stalemate into a 16-14 clinching tally. The Ventura, Calif., native raised his overall season attacking efficiency 56 percentage points in a matter of five sets, going from .235 before the match to .291 afterwards.

While Henchy was the star of the night, he was far from a one-man show. Sophomore setter Christy Blough was on point, dishing out a career-high 71 assists to go along with six digs and three blocks. Miles Johnson, Driss Guessous, Shawn Herron and Nicolas Szerszen each contributed a dozen or more points. Gabriel Domecus got in on the career best action as well, digging 21 balls overall including 10 digs in the extended third frame.

Ohio State burst out of the gates swinging .556 (19-4-27) in the opening set, powered by a 7-0-9 (K-E-TA) effort from Johnson. Despite the fluid offense, the Buckeyes scraped by 25-23 due largely to eight service errors. The most crucial serving blunder was committed by the Flyers, however, when James Hofmann missed the mark to give Ohio State’s its 25th point.

The first of three sets to go extra time came next. Lewis fell behind early, but battled back to pull ahead for the first time at 21-20 and eventually take it 27-25.

It took 66 points, 20 tied scores and eight lead changes to decide the third frame. The final tally spilled over into the 30s and witnessed nine total match points go wasted. After Lewis fended off seven OSU match points, Henchy blasted an ace off the chest of an attempted passer to close out the set 34-32. His serve caromed into the stands landing near the band’s percussion group.

Henchy piled on six more kills in the fourth set, but they were no match for the Flyers’ .650 (14-1-20) attacking barrage. Lewis also threw up five blocks in the frame, forcing a decisive fifth set 25-16.

Henchy smashed six more kills in the final frame, connecting for the point on all six of his attempts. Johnson came up big as well. The sophomore had been removed from the lineup for much of the fourth set but was called back to duty in starting the fifth. He responded with three pivotal kills and a dig. Ohio State built a 9-6 advantage to force Lewis’ first timeout. A Flyer flurry made it tense moments later, knotting the score at 14-14. That’s when Henchy pulled one last rabbit out of his hat. Make that two rabbits as Henchy’s magical performance concluded with back-to-back kills, clinching the victory 16-14.

Ohio State puts its unblemished 10-0 home mark on the line again Saturday night at 7 p.m., playing host to defending national champion and No. 1-ranked Loyola.