March 4, 2014

Week Notes


COLUMBUS, Ohio – The No. 14 Ohio State men’s volleyball team will take on a pair of nationally ranked opponents this week. The Buckeyes are set to travel to No. 15 IPFW Wednesday for a 7 p.m. ET MIVA match in Fort Wayne, Ind. Ohio State then returns to St. John Arena Friday for another 7 p.m. ET match, hosting non-conference rival and No. 12 Penn State.

Friday’s match will be televised by BTN on a delay and will air at 1 p.m. ET Saturday.

Wednesday, March 5 – 7 p.m. ET
No. 14 Ohio State Buckeyes (7-7, 4-3 MIVA) vs. No. 15 IPFW Mastodons (10-3, 3-2 MIVA)
Friday, March 7 – 7 p.m. ET
No. 14 Ohio State hosts No. 12 Penn State Nittany Lions (13-3)

The nationally-ranked Ohio State men’s volleyball team fell to nationally-ranked Ball State, 3-1 (20-25, 26-24, 25-20, 26-24), Wednesday night in St. John Arena.

Freshman Miles Johnson led the Ohio State offense with a career-high 16 kills in the match. Setter Peter Heinen notched his first double-double of the season, collecting 47 assists and a team-high 11 digs for the Buckeyes. Redshirt freshman Driss Guessous and junior Michael Henchy each chipped in 12 kills, while Johnson and freshman had nine digs.

Historic St. John Arena has been home to the Ohio State men’s volleyball team since the program started in 1968. The Buckeyes have amassed a record of 488-97 in 46 years and have totaled six undefeated seasons at home.

Ohio State stands at No. 14 in the AVCA Division I-II Coaches Top 15 poll and is one of five MIVA schools ranked. Loyola sits atop of the poll at No. 1, Lewis is No. 11, Ball State stands at No. 13 and IPFW comes in at No. 15.

In its 46th season in the league, the Ohio State men’s volleyball program has an impressive 396-101 overall record in the Midwestern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association (MIVA). The Buckeyes have captured a conference-best 24 regular season titles and 14 MIVA Tournament championships. Overall, Ohio State has produced 20 MIVA player of the year awards and has garnered 172 all-MIVA selections

Under head coach Pete Hanson, Ohio State is 252-79 and has won 15 regular season titles over Hanson’s 29 seasons. He has been named the conference’s coach of the year 11 times and has guided the team to 10 MIVA tournament crowns.

A pair of juniors are leading the Buckeyes this season offensively in opposite Andrew Lutz and outside hitter Michael Henchy.

Lutz, who hails from North Reading, Mass., has a team-best 164 kills this season and is averaging 3.49 kills per set. That average ranks sixth in the MIVA and 23rd in all of NCAA Division I-II. Henchy, a native of Ventura, Calif., is second on the squad with 128 kills and a 2.72 average.

In MIVA-only play, Lutz and Henchy rank ninth and 11th, respectively, in kills per set. Lutz is averaging 3.21 with 77 and Henchy has a 2.96 average with 71.

A pair of middles in Driss Guessous and Dustan Neary has provided big numbers for the Buckeyes both defensively and offensively at the net. Guessous, a redshirt freshman from Pasadena, Calif., has a team-best 44 (13s, 31a) blocks on the season for .94 average that ranks seventh in the league. Neary, a junior from Ventura, Calif., is third on the team with a .64 average and has 27 (3s, 24a) blocks over 42 sets played.

The duo is also doing great things offensively for Ohio State as each are among the top five in kills on the squad. Guessous is third with 119 kills on the season and a 2.53 average. His .446 attack percentage is second in the MIVA and ranks fourth nationally. To be ranked, a hitter must average 3.0 attempts per set. Neary has a 1.12 kills average and is hitting a solid .471 at the net.

A trio of true freshmen has been solid contributors to the Ohio State squad this season in Gabriel Domecus, Christy Blough and Miles Johnson.

Domecus has started in 13 of the team’s 14 matches this season with nine at libero. He leads the squad with 88 digs and a 1.91 average. Blough has started eight matches at setter and has a team-best 276 assists with a 10.62 average. Outside hitter Johnson is fourth on the team with a 1.66 kills average and has started in nine matches. He is averaging 2.02 points per set.

The No. 15 IPFW Mastodons are coached by Arnie Ball in his 34th season as head of the program. The Mastodons are 10-3 overall with a 3-2 record in the MIVA. IPFW concluded the weekend 2-0 with wins over Mount Olive and Barton. The Mastodons swept Mount Olive in three-sets Friday (25-23, 25-13, 25-23) and recorded a four-set win over Barton Saturday (25-18, 25-17, 25-23, 25-18).

Junior setter Omar Rivera is second best in the MIVA in assists per set with an 11.20 average, and a total of 560 assists. Senior outside hitter Eddie Rivera leads the team in kills and digs with 154 and 102, respectfully. Junior middle blocker Ramon Burgos leads in blocks with 35 (2s, 33a).

The Buckeyes lead the series 69-35 between the two squads. Ohio State ended an 11-match winning streak, which began in 2008, with a five-set loss  (26-28, 27-17, 25-20, 22-25, 9-15) to the Mastodons last season in Fort Wayne.  

The No. 12 Penn State Nittany Lions are 13-3 overall and 6-1 in the EIVA Conference. The Nittany Lions are coming off of a 1-1 weekend on the road to Princeton and George Mason. Penn State dropped a five-set match to Princeton Friday (25-18, 22-25, 19-25, 25-15, 11-15), and notched a four-set win over George Mason Saturday (25-19, 25-22, 24-26, 26-24).

The Nittany Lions lead all but two statistical categories in the EIVA Conference. Junior outside hitter Aaron Russell leads the conference in kills with 206, kills per set with 3.75 and service aces per set with .56. Redshirt junior libero Conner Curry leads the conference in digs per set and digs with 2.51 and 143, respectfully and redshirt sophomore setter Taylor Hammond leads the conference in assist per set with 11.04.

The Nittany Lions lead the series between the Buckeyes 70-34 -1 with play dating back to 1971. This will be the third match up between the two squads this season. The Buckeyes dropped a three-set (26-28, 20-25, 19-25) match against Penn State earlier in the season at the Outrigger Invitational in Hawai’i. The Buckeyes then traveled to Penn State last month and fell to the Nittany Lions in a four-set heartbreaker (27-29, 25-22, 29-31, 15-25).

The Buckeyes are led by head coach Pete Hanson, who is in his 30th year with the program. He has guided the Buckeyes to 15 MIVA regular season titles, including the six straight from 2007-2012. Under his direction, Ohio State captured its first NCAA Division I-II title in 2011 as the squad defeated UC Santa Barbara in five sets.

The Buckeyes have totaled 18 20-win seasons with Hanson and have reached the NCAA Championships 10 times. Hanson is 588-312 overall at Ohio State in his 29 seasons and boasts a 252-79 record against MIVA opponents.

Buckeyes Michael Henchy and Driss Guessous earned the opportunity to don the Red, White and Blue this summer, representing the United States at the FIVB Men’s U-21 World Championship held Aug. 22-Sept. 1 in Ankara and Izmir, Turkey.

The pair was selected from a field of 22 in late June to the final 12-player roster. A familiar face was at the helm of the program in Ohio State’s own head coach Pete Hanson and Buckeye assistant Sean Byron also served the same capacity for Team USA.

Team USA struggled a bit throughout the tournament and finished the 20-team championship in 11th overall. Despite leaving Turkey without a medal, Team USA did leave on a high note with a three-set win over rival Canada.

The Ohio State men’s volleyball was chosen to finish third in the Midwestern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association by a vote of the league coaches. The Buckeyes return three starters from last year’s squad that finished tied for third in the league with a 9-5 record.

The 2012 MIVA Tournament champion and regular season co-champion Loyola was voted as the conference favorite with 62 points and seven first place votes. Lewis was picked to finish second with 57 points and one first place vote. Ohio State came in third with 47 points.

Junior outside hitter Michael Henchy was selected to the MIVA Preseason All-Conference team. The Ventura, Calif., product started in 25 matches for the Buckeyes last season and finished second on the squad with 301 kills and a 3.34 kills average. He was selected to the 2013 MIVA All-Conference first team and also earned preseason honors last year.

Ohio State kicks off three-match road swing next week, beginning at MIVA rival and nationally-ranked Lewis, March 11. The Buckeyes and the Flyers face off in an 8 p.m. ET match in Romeoville, Ill.