COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Ohio State men’s volleyball team (2-2) got back on track Sunday, grabbing a 3-1 victory over the Patriots of George Mason University (0-2) on the second day of the Patriot Invitational. The Buckeyes took the match by set scores of 25-17, 25-16, 27-25, and 26-24.
Stats That Mattered
Hitting Percentage – In a tale of two matches, the Buckeyes dominated the opening two sets before struggling to put the Patriots away in the final two. The telling stat came in the hitting department. In the two sets that the Buckeyes controlled, the Ohio State defense held the hosts’ offense down. The Patriots hit just .032 in the first set, and .000 in set number two. On the flip side, the Ohio State offense hit .432 in the match’s first set, .292 in set two, and .375 in the match-closing set.
Blocks – The Buckeyes built a wall for the majority of the match, while the Patriots struggled at the net, outside of the lone game that they won. Ohio State posted six total blocks through the first two sets, with George Mason not registering a single block. In the set that the Patriots took, George Mason outworked the Buckeyes, 5-0, in blocks. Justin Howard and Samuel Clark posted five blocks in the match, while Cole Young and Jack Stevens tallied four, each.
Samuel Clark – Clark put together an all-around effort in the victory, sharing a team-high with 13 kills, while adding five digs, five blocks and hitting .281. Clark’s 19.5 points marked a season best for the senior, while his four service aces led the way in the match.
Jacob Pasteur – Pasteur helped Clark carry the offensive load for the Buckeyes, finishing with 13 kills and adding six digs. In the decisive fourth set, Pasteur rose to another level, posting five kills and a pair of assists in the match-clinching effort.
How It Happened
Set 1 – Ohio State jumped all over the Patriots early, forcing the hosts to use both of their timeouts in the first 15 points of the game. The Buckeyes posted a 6-2 run to force the first break in action as Cole Young and Jack Stevens got the offense rolling.
The Buckeyes would keep the pressure on the Patriots, getting their blocking game going. Justin Howard and Michael Wright combined for a block, before Young and Clark set up a wall of their own, forcing the second timeout with a 13-7 advantage.
The Ohio State lead would grow to as many as nine (24-15) before settling on the eight-point win in the set, 25-17.
Set 2 – The strong effort from the Buckeyes would continue into the second set as the visitors opened with a 9-3 run. Two more blocks by the defense sparked the run, and both Young and Wright posted service aces in the swing.
The second-set advantage would swell to as many as 11 (19-8) as Wright got into the offensive action with a kill of his own, forcing George Mason’s second timeout of the set. Ohio State would cost to the 25-16 win in set two.
Set 3 – For as easy as the first two sets appeared, the final two were exactly the opposite. Trailing by three in the middle portion of the frame, the Patriots would force a timeout by the Buckeyes, putting together a 5-1 run to take a 17-16 lead.
From that point, the set saw 10 ties and seven lead changes, which ended with a 27-25 Patriot victory. In that set, GMU never led by more than two points in the frame.
Set 4 – The pivotal set saw continued back-and-forth action, as neither team led by more than two points for the entirety of the game. Ohio State showed their ability to fight in the set, as the Patriots attempted to pull away multiple times. The hosts led by two on seven-separate occasions, but the Buckeyes fought back each time.
The fourth set saw 17 ties and five lead changes, with the last tie score coming at 24-all. The Buckeyes would clinch the match at the serving line. Following an error by the Patriots that gave Ohio State the one-point advantage, Clark finished the afternoon with his fourth service ace, giving the Buckeyes their second victory of the young campaign.
Along with Clark and Pasteur, other Buckeye leaders on the afternoon included Stevens, Wright and Howard. Wright orchestrated the offense to the tune of 35 assists, while Stevens posted eight kills. Howard added seven kills and did not commit a single error, hitting a team-best .778 on the afternoon.
The Buckeyes return to the friendly confines of the Covelli Center Friday to take on Maryville. The matchup is scheduled for 7 p.m. and can be streamed on B1G+.