March 22, 2014

Match Notes


COLUMBUS, Ohio – The No. 15 Ohio State men’s volleyball team travels to long-time MIVA rival No. 12 Ball State Sunday for a 4 p.m. ET match. The contest will be played in Worthen Arena and is the final meeting between the two teams this regular season.

Sunday, March 23 – 4 p.m. ET
No. 15 Ohio State Buckeyes (8-12, 4-5 MIVA) at No. 12 Ball State Cardinals (16-5, 5-2 MIVA) 

After falling behind 2-0, the No. 15 Ohio State men’s volleyball team battled back to force a fifth set, but the comeback wasn’t enough as the team dropped a 3-2 (25-15, 25-19, 20-25, 21-25, 17-15) match to Harvard Tuesday night in St. John Arena.

Redshirt freshmen Driss Guessous and Alex Judkins reached career bests in the match for the Buckeyes (8-12). Guessous had a match-high 18 kills to set a new career mark, while Judkins totaled a career-high 13 kills and eight digs. Freshman Miles Johnson tied a career-best with 16 kills and added six digs.

Freshman setter Christy Blough finished with a match-best 59 assists and had two service aces. Junior Michael Henchy totaled 14 kills and classmate Dustan Neary had a team-high five blocks (1s, 4a). 

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. 10, Ball State stands at No. 12 and IPFW is ranked No. 13.

In its 46th season in the league, the Ohio State men’s volleyball program has an impressive 396-102 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 252-80 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 handful of Buckeyes reached career marks this past weekend at the Active Ankle Classic in Long Beach, Calif.

Highlighting all performances was redshirt junior Andrew Lutz‘s offensive production against Cal State Northridge Saturday. The North Reading, Mass., product totaled a career-high 29 kills in the match and his 66 attempts also set a career mark.

Freshmen Christy Blough and Miles Johnson each had career performances on the weekend as well. Blough reached 60 assists at Long Beach State and notched the first double-double of his career against CSUN with 57 assists and 11 digs. Johnson set a career-best in digs Saturday with 12 and also picked up a double-double on the weekend with 11 kills and 11 digs against LBSU. 

With career performances this past weekend, redshirt junior Andrew Lutz sparked his offensive power and has led the team this season in kills. The opposite has a team-best 246 kills on the year with a 3.57 average. That mark ranks him fourth in the MIVA and 20th in all NCAA Division I-II.

The North Reading, Mass., product has registered 10 matches with double-digit kills, including a pair of contests this past weekend with 20 or more kills. Lutz totaled a career-high 29 kills against Cal State Northridge Saturday after having 21 kills vs. No. 2 Long Beach State Friday.

In MIVA-only play, Lutz ranks ninth with a 3.12 kills average and has 100 on the year. He has totaled four matches with double-digit kills against league opponents. 

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 65 (19s, 46a) blocks on the season for .88 average. Neary, a junior from Ventura, Calif., is second on the team with a .72 average and has 50 (4s, 50a) blocks over 69 sets played.

The duo is also doing great things offensively for Ohio State as each are among the Top 5 in kills on the squad. Guessous is third with 196 kills on the season and a 2.65 average. His .468 attack percentage is first in the MIVA and ranks second nationally. To be ranked, a hitter must average 3.0 attempts per set. Neary has a 1.14 kills average and is hitting a solid .417 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 six double-digit kill performances in the last eight matches to up his season average to 1.90 on the season. Johnson also ranks tied for first on the squad in service aces, having 18 overall.

Domecus has started in 19 of the team’s 20 matches this season with 15 at libero. He leads the squad with 123 digs and a 1.71 average. Blough has started 14 matches at setter and has a team-best 581 assists with a 10.96 average.

The No. 12 Ball State Cardinals are 16-5 overall and 5-2 in conference play. The Cardinals have accumulated a .643 conference winning percentage and concluded last week 2-0. The Cardinals topped Harvard in five-sets (18-25, 26-24, 20-25, 25-19, 16-14) Sunday, and followed with a four set win over NJIT (25-13, 21-25, 25-17, 25-19) Thursday.

Junior libero David Ryan Vander Meer leads the MIVA in digs per set with a 2.64 average, and senior middle attacker Matt Leske leads the conference in blocks per set with 1.46. Sophomore outside attacker Marcin Niemczewski leads the team in kills with 245 and senior setter Graham McIlvaine has 666 assists.

The Buckeyes lead the storied play between the two squads 91-80. The two teams met earlier in the season and the Cardinals came away with a four set win (20-25, 26-24, 25-20, 26-24).

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 589-316 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 next weekend for a pair of MIVA matches, March 28-29. The Buckeyes face Quincy in a 7 p.m. ET match and follow with another 7 p.m. ET match vs. Lindenwood. Admission is free for both matches.