March 13, 2014

Weekend Notes


COLUMBUS, Ohio – The No. 15 Ohio State men’s volleyball team will travel to California this weekend for the Active Ankle Classic on the campus of Long Beach State. The Buckeyes face No. 2 Long Beach State Friday to open the tournament and follow with a Saturday match against Cal State Northridge.

Friday, March 14 – 8 p.m. ET
No. 14 Penn State (13-4) vs. Cal State Northridge (6-11)
Friday, March 14 – 10 p.m. ET
No. 15 Ohio State Buckeyes (8-9) at No. 2 Long Beach State (13-4)
Saturday, March 15 – 8 p.m. ET
No. 15 Ohio State vs. Cal State Northridge
Saturday, March 15 – 10 p.m. ET
No. 14 Penn State at No. 2 Long Beach State

The No. 15 Ohio State men’s volleyball team dropped a 3-0 (25-21, 25-21, 25-20) MIVA match at No. 11 Lewis Tuesday night in Romeoville, Ill.

Freshman Miles Johnson led the team with 10 kills and added two service aces. Junior Michael Henchy added nine kills and two service aces, while Driss Guessous chipped in eight. Juniors Andrew Lutz and Dustan Neary each had three block assists and freshman Christy Blough totaled 33 assists.

Ohio State comes in at No. 15 in this week’s 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, IPFW comes in at No. 12 and Ball State stands at No. 13.

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 196 kills this season and is averaging 3.32 kills per set. Henchy, a native of Ventura, Calif., is second on the squad with 168 kills and a 2.85 average.

Prior to Tuesday’s match at Lewis, Lutz’s average ranks seventh in the MIVA and 29th in all of NCAA Division I-II.  

In MIVA-only play, Lutz and Henchy rank ninth and 10th, respectively, in kills per set. Lutz is averaging 3.24 with 94 and Henchy has a 3.03 average with 88.

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 55 (16s, 38a) blocks on the season for .92 average that ranks sixth in the league. Neary, a junior from Ventura, Calif., is third on the team with a .67 average and has 36 (3s, 33a) blocks over 54 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 151 kills on the season and a 2.56 average. His .463 attack percentage is first in the MIVA and ranks third nationally. To be ranked, a hitter must average 3.0 attempts per set. Neary has a 1.15 kills average and is hitting a solid .443 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.

Johnson, who hails from Carlsbad, Calif., has stepped up offensively for the Buckeyes as of late. The outside hitter has totaled four double-digit kill performances in the last six matches to up his season average to 1.79 on the season. Johnson also ranks second on the squad in service aces, having 15 overall.

Domecus has started in 16 of the team’s 17 matches this season with 12 at libero. He leads the squad with 106 digs and a 1.86 average. Blough has started 11 matches at setter and has a team-best 405 assists with a 10.66 average.

The No. 2 Long Beach State 49ers stand at 13-4 on the season and are coached by Alan Knipe in his 11th year with the program. The squad is coming off a pair of home victories last weekend, defeating then-No. 2 BYU in four sets (25-21, 25-16, 25-27, 26-24) and following with a 3-0 (25-18, 25-21, 25-16) sweep of Cal-Baptist.

LBSU is led by outside hitter Taylor Crabb, who leads the nation with a 5.05 kills per set average. The senior has 318 on the season and is also second on the team with 147 digs for a 2.33 average. Senior setter Connor Olbright has an NCAA-best 12.00 assists average with 756 overall, while classmate Jeff Ornee leads the team with 73 blocks on the year.

The 49ers lead the series with the Buckeyes, 9-1. After opening with a win over LBSU in 1981, Ohio State has dropped the last nine matches, including a five-set setback to start the 2012 season.

The Cal State Northridge Matadors will enter the weekend with a 6-11 overall mark. The squad is coached by Jeff Campbell in his 17th season. The team split its matches last weekend, opening with a 3-0 victory over Cal-Baptist Thursday. The Matadors fell to then-No. 2 BYU Saturday in four sets (25-22, 25-23, 26-28, 25-18).

Sophomore Sam Holt has a team-best 3.29 kills average on the year, while freshman Damani Lenore stands at 2.89. Setter Travis Magorian is averaging 9.45 assists per set and freshman libero Bradley Sakaida leads the team with 109 digs and a 1.98 average. Junior middle blocker Greg Faulkner has 52 blocks on the season to guide the Matador defense.

The Buckeyes hold a slight edge in the overall series with the Matadors at 4-3. Ohio State won the last meeting, taking a 3-0 (25-14, 25-19, 25-16) victory in 2011 at Penn State.

HEAD COACH Pete Hanson
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 589-314 overall at Ohio State in his 29 seasons and boasts a 252-81 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 returns to St. John Arena for non-conference match, March 18. The Buckeyes host Harvard in a 7 p.m. ET match and the contest will be the first-ever meeting between the two programs. Admission is free.