Feb. 20, 2013

COLUMBUS, Ohio – The No. 6 Ohio State men’s volleyball team hosts NCAA Division III’s No. 6 Juniata Friday night in St. John Arena. The Buckeyes and the Eagles face off at 7 p.m. ET and admission is free.

Friday, February 22, 7 p.m. ET
No. 6 Ohio State Buckeyes (10-2) vs. Juniata Eagles (11-3)

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Ohio State returned to St John Arena this past weekend, hosting MIVA rivals IPFW and Ball State. The Buckeyes finished the weekend with a 2-0 mark, topping IPFW in four sets (29-31, 25-23, 25-18, 25-23) and Ball State in four sets (28-26, 22-25, 25-19, 25-23).

Sophomore Brennan Anderson led the Buckeyes defensively and was named MIVA Defensive Player of the Week after totaling a career-high 24 digs against IPFW. The Newport Beach, Calif., product ended the weekend with 35 total over eight sets played. Three Buckeyes finished with over nine blocks on the weekend, including a nine-block performance by redshirt senior John Tholen against the Mastodons.

Redshirt sophomore Andrew Lutz guided the Ohio State offense with 33 kills for a 4.12 kill average. Sophomore Michael Henchy finished with 26 kills and senior Chen Levitan had 18, including 15 against Ball State.  

The Buckeyes stand alone in the No. 6 spot on this week’s AVCA Division I-II Men’s Top 15 poll with 140 points. The squad cracked into the top five on Volleyball Magazine Top 10 poll, ranking No. 5 with 58 points. MIVA rival Lewis is ranked No. 12 in the AVCA poll.

Sophomore Brennan Anderson was named MIVA Defensive Player of the Week, the league announced Monday. The honor is the second of the season for Anderson.

The libero led the Buckeye defense this past weekend as Ohio State captured a pair of four-set matches over MIVA opponents. Anderson opened with a career-high 24 digs against IPFW Friday and followed with 11 against Ball State Sunday.

Anderson’s 24-dig performance marked the most recorded in the MIVA this season and is second-most recorded in NCAA Div. I-II this year. Anderson’s single match performance also ranks fourth most in Ohio State history.

Overall, Anderson finished the weekend with a 4.38 digs average and his defensive performances upped his season average to 3.36 overall and 3.50 in MIVA play. Both averages rank first in the league. He has totaled double-digit digs in eight of 12 matches played for the Buckeyes.

Ohio State’s balanced attack on all fronts has proven effective as the squad and individuals rank among the best in NCAA Div. I-II. The Buckeyes lead the nation in digs, averaging 11.70 per set. The squad is second in assists (12.32) and third in kills (13.05).

Sophomore libero Brennan Anderson leads with a 3.36 digs average and has amassed a MIVA-best 148 on the season. Redshirt sophomore Peter Heinen has the nation’s best assist average with 11.27. He has totaled 50 or more assists in four matches for the Buckeyes.

The Ohio State defense has put up big numbers so far this season to help the team to a 10-2 record. The team totaled a season-high 70 digs collectively in the 3-1 win over George Mason (Feb. 2), while the squad had a season-best 17.0 blocks against IPFW (Feb. 15).

The Buckeye back row ranks first in NCAA Div. I-II, averaging 11.70 digs per set. Sophomore libero Brennan Anderson is first in the nation with a 3.36 average, while senior Chen Levitan is 30th at 1.93. Anderson has totaled a team-high eight double-digit dig performances and Levitan has reached double-digits four times.  

The Buckeye blockers are averaging 2.57 blocks per set to rank ninth nationally and have notched 10.0 blocks six times this season. Senior Grayson Overman leads the team with 51 blocks (7s, 44a) and is fourth in the conference with a 1.19 average. Redshirt senior John Tholen has 44 blocks (10s, 34a) on the year and his 1.64 blocks average in MIVA play ranks first.

Ohio State ranks first in a number of categories in MIVA-only competition. As a team, the Buckeyes are first in assists (13.36), kills (14.43), blocks (3.21) and digs (13.29). The squad ranks third in hitting percentage (.275) and opponent hitting percentage (.185).

Individually, five Buckeyes are first on six of seven possible statistical categories. Redshirt sophomore Andrew Lutz is first in kills (4.33) and points (5.00), while classmate Peter Heinen is first in assists (12.29). Sophomore libero Brennan Anderson leads in digs (3.50) and seniors Grayson Overman and John Tholen lead in hitting percentage (.540) and blocks (1.64), respectively.

The sophomore quartet of outside hitter Michael Henchy, opposite Andrew Lutz, libero Brennan Anderson and setter Peter Heinen has put together solid numbers so far this season to lead the Buckeyes both offensively and defensively.

Henchy and Lutz lead the squad in kills, averaging 3.48 and 3.76 kills per set, respectively. Henchy has a team-high 153 kills on the season and leads the squad with 11 service aces. Lutz is second on the team with 139 kills and eight aces. Heinen has guided the Buckeye offensive strike, dishing out 496 assists so far this year. Anderson leads the Buckeye defense with 148 digs.

The Juniata Eagles are 11-3 overall and are coming off of a 2-0 weekend, beating SUNY New Paltz in four sets and sweeping Penn State-Altoona, 3-0. 

Junior Ross Madden and sophomore Joe Bortak are tied for kills with 102 apiece. Bortak also leads in blocks with 37 (5s, 32a), while classmate Eric McCarthy leads in digs with 72. Senior Rob Stratus leads in assist with a 293 total.

The Buckeyes lead the series between the Eagles, 25-2, with Juniata’s last win coming 2009 in five sets (30-28, 23-30, 28-30, 30-27, 12-15).

HEAD COACH Pete Hanson
The Buckeyes are led by head coach Pete Hanson, who is in his 29th year with the program. He has guided the Buckeyes to 15 MIVA regular season titles, including the team’s sixth-consecutive title this past season. 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 572-299 overall at Ohio State and boasts a 244-72 record against MIVA opponents.

Ohio State continues its homestand, facing MIVA rivals Loyola-Chicago and No. 12 Lewis in a pair of highly-anticipated league matches. The Buckeyes host the Ramblers in a 7 p.m. ET match March 1 and follow with another 7 p.m. ET match against the Flyers March 2. Both matches will be played in St. John Arena and admission is free.