Feb. 14, 2007

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COLUMBUS, Ohio – The eighth-ranked Ohio State (10-1, 2-0 Midwestern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association) men’s volleyball team begins a three-match home stand over the next two weeks by hosting George Mason (3-2) Saturday in St. John Arena. The Patriots and Buckeyes begin play at 7 p.m. Last week, Ohio State upset fifth-ranked IPFW, 3-1 (24-30, 30-25, 30-22, 30-26) and defeated Mercyhurst, 3-0 (30-16, 30-18, 30-18) in road matches.

The Buckeyes are coached by Pete Hanson. Ohio State is 10-1 on the season and 2-0 in the MIVA. Last week, OSU upset fifth-ranked IPFW, 3-1, and defeated Mercyhurst, 3-0, in road matches. Robbie Klein (Jr./So., Cincinnati, Ohio) is leading Ohio State in kills per game at 3.32. Sam Stevens (5th/Sr., Miami, Fla.) is second at 3.14 and Dan Meske (Sr., Willow Springs, Ill.) third at 3.11. Layne Dreven (5th/Sr., Pittsburgh, Pa.) is hitting a team-high .626 with John Albertson (Jr./So., Ballwin, Mo.) second at .493. Setter Daniel Mathews (Jr., Shorewood, Wis.) is averaging 13.27 assists per game for the Buckeyes. Klein is the team leader in aces per game at .62 with 23. Mathews ranks second at .51 with 19 and Dreven is third at .46 with 17. Defensively, Stevens has a team-high 1.91 digs per game average with libero Conor Martin (Jr., Avon Lake, Ohio) second at 1.51 and Meske third at 1.36. At the net, Albertson is the team leader in blocks per game at 1.35. He has five solos and 45 assists. Mathews ranks second at 1.27 with four solos and 43 assist blocks. Dreven is third at .97 with a solo and 35 assist blocks. Ohio State is hitting .404 and is averaging 15.73 kills and 14.32 assists per game. The Buckeyes average 2.92 aces, 7.70 digs and 2.76 blocks per game. OSU opponents are hitting .203 and average 11.32 kills and 10.49 assists per game. Opponents average .78 aces, 7.22 digs and 1.15 blocks per game. A LOOK AT GEORGE MASON
The Patriots are coached by Fred Chao. George Mason is 3-2 on the season and plays at Juniata Thursday prior to facing the Buckeyes. William Price leads the team in kills per game with a 6.84 average. Hudson Bates ranks second at 3.80. Price is the top percentage hitter on the squad at .337. Setter Billy Freesmeier is averaging 11.87 assists per game. Price is the team leader in aces per game at .68 with 13. Mark Burik ranks second at .28 with five. Defensively, Graham Sheppard has a team-high 2.50 digs per game average with Bates second at 1.60. At the net, Colton Naill leads the team in blocking with a 1.42 average with five solos and 22 assists. Kyle Swanston ranks second at 1.22 with two solos and 22 assists. As a team, George Mason is hitting .285 and is averaging 15.53 kills and 14.26 assists per game. The Patriots average 1.53 aces, 8.74 digs and 3.39 blocks per game. Opponents are hitting .258 and average 15.58 kills and 14.84 assists per game. George Mason opponents average .63 aces, 10.05 digs and 2.55 blocks per game.

George Mason has a 22-13 advantage in the series with Ohio State. In Columbus, the Buckeyes are 8-2 against the Patriots. The squads played last season, in Columbus, with Ohio State winning, 3-1 (30-28, 30-28, 26-30, 30-28). The Buckeyes have won the last three matches played in St. John Arena and have won five of the last six matches against the Patriots.

Dan Meske posted career-highs of 22.5 points and 21 kills in the win over IPFW. He hit .487 in the match, adding seven digs, an ace serve and one assist block. His previous highs were 20.5 points and 17 kills at Penn State. Meske had six points with five kills (.625), an ace serve and one dig while playing in two of the three games against the Lakers. He has started all 11 matches at outside hitter this season after playing libero and defensive specialist his first three years. Meske, on the season, is averaging 3.81 points, 3.11 kills, .44 aces, 1.36 digs and .47 blocks while hitting .359.

Layne Dreven recorded double-figure points in both matches last week. At IPFW, he had 14 points with nine kills (.533), three aces, a solo block and two assist blocks. He had a co-match-high 10 points at Mercyhurst with seven kills (.600), two ace serves and two assist blocks. Dreven has had double-figure points in his last five matches and in seven of 11 on the season. He is averaging 3.36 kills, 2.41 points, .46 aces and .97 blocks per game this year while hitting a team-high .626. Dreven is the top hitter in the country this week with a .626 percentage.

Robbie Klein recorded three aces at IPFW to raise his career-total to 48 and move him into a tie for 18th on the OSU career list. He is tied with Todd Brooks (1989-92) and Mike Terpstra (1990-93). Klein previously had been tied for 20th with Phil Kerewich (1996-99) with 45. He added nine kills, five digs and an assist block against IPFW. At Mercyhurst, Klein recorded six kills, two assist blocks and one dig. In starting all 11 matches this season, he is averaging team-highs of 4.26 points, 3.32 kills and .62 aces per game. Klein is averaging 1.08 digs and .57 blocks per game. He has handled 211 reception attempts with six error for a .972 reception percentage.

John Albertson is averaging 1.35 blocks per game to lead the Buckeyes this season. He has team-highs of five solos and 45 assists. Albertson had three assist blocks at IPFW, adding seven kills (.778) and a dig in the match. He recorded five assist blocks at Mercyhurst, collecting six kills (.625) and an ace serve against the Lakers. For the season, Albertson is averaging 3.47 points, 2.46 kills, .27 aces and 1.35 blocks per game in his 11 starts.

Sam Stevens recorded 12 kills in the win at IPFW while adding nine digs, a solo block and one assist block in the match. His 12 kills was his fifth consecutive double-figure kill match and sixth of the season. His nine digs was one shy of his season-high set against St. Francis. Stevens played in only one game at Mercyhurst, recording two kills, four digs and an assist block. For the season, he has started all 11 matches and is averaging 3.71 points, 3.14 kills, .34 aces, .40 blocks and a team-high 1.91 digs per game. Stevens has a .969 reception percentage with 194 receptions and six errors.

Daniel Mathews has the Buckeyes at 10-1 overall after road wins over IPFW and Mercyhurst. He had 53 assists at IPFW, adding four kills (.500), three ace serves, four digs, a solo block and two assist blocks. Mathews had 32 assists at Mercyhurst and collected four assist blocks, two digs and an ace serve in the match. A starter in all 11 matches, he is averaging 13.27 assist per game on the year and is averaging 1.11 digs, 1.27 blocks and .51 aces per game. Mathews ranked sixth nationally last week in assists per game at 13.53.

Daniel Mathews had a solo and six assist blocks last week in matches against IPFW (1-2) and Mercyhurst (0-4). His solo block raises his career total to 31 and moves him into a tie for 17th on the OSU career list with Adam Pedersen (2001-04). Mathews had been tied for 18th with Chris Fash (1998-01) with 30. He needs two solo blocks to pass Craig Geibel (1990-93) and Mark Peckham (2001-04) with 32 for 15th. His seven total blocks (1-6) has moved him to 17th on the OSU career total blocks list with 262 (31-231). He passed Phil Kerewich (1996-99) with 257 (58-199). Mathews needs three total blocks to pass Pieter Olree (1999-02), Jose’ Bengoa (1994-97) and Tom Hoff (1992-93) with 264 each.

Brett Versen, at Mercyhurst, recorded season-highs of five kills, three aces, two digs and two assists blocks while hitting .667. His three ace serves equals his career-high for the third time, the last being against Loyola in 2006. Versen has played in nine matches this season, averaging 1.25 points.

Mathew Hankey had an impressive performance off the bench against Mercyhurst, sharing match-high honors with Layne Dreven with 10 points against the Lakers. Hankey had seven kills while hitting .700 (7-0-10) in the match and added two ace serves, two digs and two assist blocks. His kills, digs, blocks and points were all season highs while his hitting percentage was a career-high. His previous best hitting percentage was .364 (12-4-22) against D’Youville in 2006. Hankey has played in eight of 11 matches, seeing action in 13 of 37 games this season. He is averaging 1.54 points, 1.15 kills on the season.

Conor Martin collected a season-high 10 digs at IPFW last week. His previous best this season was nine against Carthage. At Mercyhurst, Martin had seven digs as the starter at libero. He posted a kill in game three, playing outside hitter as Brian Kues (Fr., Cincinnati, Ohio) took over the libero duties. Martin has started all 11 matches at libero and is averaging 1.51 digs per game, ranking second on the squad. He has a team-high 245 reception attempts with nine error for a .963 reception percentage.

Conor Martin recorded 10 digs at IPFW and seven at Mercyhurst to raise his career total to 421 and move to 18th on the OSU career digs list. He passed Andy Cole (2003-06) with 410 to move up. Martin needs 24 digs to move past No. 17 Mark Greaves (2003-06) with 444.

In the Division I-II National Statistical Leaders, released on Feb. 12, Ohio State’s Layne Dreven has the top hitting percentage in the country at .626 for the third week. He is ninth in aces per game at .46. John Albertson is tied for ninth in hitting at .493 and is tied for 11th in blocking at 1.35. Robbie Klein is sixth in aces at .62. Daniel Mathews ranks sixth in assists at 13.27, is 17th in blocking at 1.27 and eighth in aces at .51. Dan Meske is tied for 12th in aces at .44. In team hitting, the Buckeyes are top ranked, for the third week, with a .404 hitting percentage.

HEAD COACH Pete Hanson
Pete Hanson is in his 23rd season at Ohio State. He has a 444-252 record with the Buckeyes and has nine Midwestern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association Championships including 2004. Named the MIVA Coach of the Year six times, including 2004, he was the American Volleyball Coaches Association National Coach of the Year in 2000 when OSU was the NCAA National Championship runner-up. Hanson was also the 1998 Volleyball Magazine Coach of the Year. His teams have advanced to the NCAA Championships six times including back-to-back appearances in 2000 (runner-up) and 2001 (semifinalist).

Ohio State is ranked eighth in the CSTV/AVCA Division I-II Men’s Coaches Top 15 Poll released Feb. 12. The Buckeyes were ranked 10th last week in the poll. Other MIVA conference teams ranked in the poll are IPFW seventh, Loyola-Chicago 10th with Ball State receiving votes (5).

Robbie Klein has been named the MIVA Shondell/Dunlap Division Player of the Week. Klein helped Ohio State to wins over Rutgers-Newark, 3-0 (30-26, 30-28, 30-18) and Carthage, 3-1 (30-24, 26-30, 32-30, 30-21) last week to keep the Buckeyes undefeated at 7-0. Klein had a team-high 12 kills against Rutgers-Newark adding two assists, two ace serves four digs and an assist block for 14.5 points. Against Carthage, Klein posted career-highs of 29.5 points, 23 kills, five ace serves and a season-high six digs in the victory. Tied at one game each against the Red Men, he had seven kills in seven attempts in game three. Down by as many as five points (25-20), Klein had a kill in a four-point OSU run to cut the lead to 25-24. He scored OSU’s next three points to keep OSU in the game at 28-27. A Carthage error tied the game at 28. Klein’s fifth ace serve of the match gave OSU a 29-28 lead. OSU won the game, 32-30. Klein then had six kills in nine attempts in game four to help end the match. In the final two games, Klein hit .813 (13-16). His five ace serves in the match ties for third on the OSU match record list. As a passer, he had a .940 serve reception percentage handling 50 of 53 serves in the two matches (11 with no errors against Rutgers-Newark and 36 of 39 against Carthage). For the two matches Klein averaged 6.29 points, 5.00 kills, 1.00 aces, 1.43 digs and .57 blocks per game while hitting .344.

Ohio State opened the 2007 season by hitting .619 against MSOE with 44 kills, five errors in 63 attempts. This marks the second best hitting performance in the history of the program. The Buckeyes set the record of .671 at Mercyhurst in 1997. Against MSOE, OSU hit .579 (12-1-19) in game one, .435 (14-4-23) in game two and finished with a .857 (18-0-21) in game three. The Buckeyes had five of six starters hit .600 or better in the match.

Behind a career-high four ace serves from Layne Dreven, Ohio State recorded 15 ace serves in the MSOE match. The 15 aces tie for second the most ace serves in a match for the Buckeyes. OSU had 15 ace serves against Clarke in 2005 and at Pacific in 2001. The OSU record is 17 against Thomas More in 1995. Also contributing aces in the match were Dan Meske and Sam Stevens with three, Daniel Mathews with two and Robbie Klein, Brett Versen and Brian Kues with one each.

Ohio State has been picked to finish second in the Midwestern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association Shondell/Dunlap Division preseason poll by a vote of the division coaches. IPFW, picked to be the favorite, received five first place votes with Ohio State receiving two. Loyola was picked to finish third with Ball State fourth and Lewis fifth. Rounding out the division was Quincy at sixth and Mercyhurst, seventh. In 2006, Loyola won the division with an 11-1 record with IPFW finishing second at 9-3. The 2006 MIVA Tournament was won by IPFW.

The Midwestern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association Shondell/Dunlap Division coaches have selected the 2007 Preseason All-Conference Team. Ohio State had two players named to the team in sophomore middle hitter John Albertson and junior setter Daniel Mathews. Also named to the team were IPFW’s Colin Lundeen, Josh Stewart and C.J. Macias, Loyola’s James Gunst and Brian Guntli, Ball State’s Nick Meyer and Ian Peckler and Lewis’ Jared Dayton.

Ohio State, in preparation for the 2007 season, played seven exhibition matches in November and December. The Buckeyes played the first three matches at home losing 3-2 (26-30, 17-30, 30-15, 30-24, 16-14) to Penn State on November 11. OSU then dropped 3-1 decisions to UC Irvine on Dec. 16 (30-24, 30-21, 28-30, 30-23) and Dec. 17 (30-22, 30-26, 26-30, 30-23). Ohio State closed out exhibition play at the 2006 Cay Clubs Invitational in Clearwater, Fla. In pool play the Buckeyes lost to Alberta, 3-2 (22-25, 25-15, 24-26, 25-22, 15-7) on Dec. 28, defeated McMaster 3-1 (25-17, 21-25, 28-26, 25-14) Dec. 29 and defeated Regina 3-1 (25-22, 25-13, 23-25, 26-24) Dec. 30 to advance to the Bronze Medial match against Manitoba. The Buckeyes defeated Manitoba 3-0 (25-23, 25-20, 25-19) to finish third in the eight-team Invitational. OSU’s Daniel Mathews was named to the All-Tournament Team.

Ohio State 3, IPFW 1

The 10th-ranked Ohio State (9-1, 1-0 Midwestern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association) men’s volleyball team, behind a career-high 22.5 points from Dan Meske, upset fifth-ranked IPFW (8-1, 3-1), 3-1 (24-30, 30-25, 30-22, 30-26) Friday night at the Gates Sports Center in front of 2,246 fans. Meske recorded a career-high 21 kills (.487), adding an ace serve and an assist block. Layne Dreven contributed 14 points with nine kills (.533), three ace serves, a solo block and two assist blocks. C. J. Macias scored a match-high 25 points with 22 kills (.200), two ace serves and a solo block for IPFW. Mastodon Josh Stewart added 18 points with 16 kills (.727) and four assist blocks.

IPFW opened game one with a 4-0 lead with kills from Macias and Stewart, a Macias ace serve and a Colin Lundeen-Stewart block. Trailing, 14-12, an OSU kill by Robbie Klein and an IPFW error tied the game at 14. At 15-all, an ace serve from Daniel Mathews gave OSU a 16-15 lead. The Mastodons tied the game at 16 with a Vitor Oliveira kill and expanded the lead to 19-16 with two Oliveira-Brock Ullrich blocks and an Oliveira kill. IPFW, with an OSU error, reached game point at 29-22. A Mastodon error and a Klein ace serve stopped two game points cutting the lead to 29-24. IPFW won the game, 30-24 with a Macias kill to take a 1-0 lead in the match. The Mastodons hit .464 in the game to .194 for Ohio State.

Ohio State, with game two tied at 2-2, used a Meske kill and two IPFW errors to take a 5-2 lead. A Buckeye error made it 5-3. The Buckeyes, with a four-point run opened up a 9-3 lead. Dreven started the run with a kill. A Dreven ace serve, a kill from Sam Stevens and a second Dreven ace put the lead at 9-3. Two OSU errors, a Stewart kill, and an Ullrich ace serve cut the lead to 9-7. The Mastodons would come within one on five occasions, the last at 25-24. A Mastodon service error, an OSU block by Klein and John Albertson and a Meske kill gave the Buckeyes a 28-24 lead. A kill by Oliveira cut the lead to 28-25. Ohio State reached game point (29-25) with an Albertson kill. The Buckeyes closed out the game with a Mathews-Dreven block to win the game, 30-25, and tie the match at one game each. Ohio State hit .344 for the game to .231 for IPFW.

In game three, the Mastodons held an early 5-2 lead. The Buckeyes tied the game at five with a Meske kill, a Mathews-Albertson block and an IPFW error. Tied at nine, a kill by Mathews and a yellow card point gave OSU a 11-9 lead. A Stewart kill made it 11-10. Ohio State scored the next five points to open a 16-10 lead. The run began with a Mastodon error. A Dreven-Meske block, a Stevens kill and ace serves from Klein and Mathews gave Ohio State a six-point lead. The Buckeyes reached game point at 29-22 with a kill from Stevens. Ohio State won the game, 30-22, with an Albertson kill and gave the Buckeyes a 2-1 lead. Ohio State hit .300 for the game to .091 for IPFW.

Tied at two in game four, two kills from Meske gave Ohio State a 4-2 lead. A Stewart kill cut the margin to 4-3. The Buckeyes expanded the lead to 7-3 with kills from Albertson and Mathews and a Meske ace serve. The Buckeyes expanded the lead to six at 19-13. Two kills by Macias cut the OSU lead to four at 19-15. At 21-17, a Mastodon error made the lead five at 22-17. IPFW scored the next five points to tie the game at 22. The run contained three kills from Stewart, one from Jerrod Quillen and an OSU error. Tied at 25, a four-point Buckeye run set match point at 29-25. A Klein kill started the run. An IPFW error and kills from Meske and Albertson completed the run. An OSU error made it 29-26. A Klein kill ended the game at 30-26 to give the Buckeyes a 3-1 victory. Ohio State hit .447 for the game to .297 for the Mastodons.

For the match, Ohio State hit .328 to .266 for IPFW. The Buckeyes had a 62-56 advantage in kills and an eleven to three margin in ace serves. OSU’s Mathews served up a match-high four aces. The Buckeyes gave up 23 service errors to 16 for the Mastodons. Defensively, IPFW had a 40-37 edge in digs with OSU’s Conor Martin recording a match-high 10. At the net, the Mastodons had an 8.5 to eight margin in team blocks. Mastodons Lundeen (one solo, three assists) and Stewart (four assists) shared match-high honors with four blocks each. Mathews recorded a match-high 53 assists for the Buckeyes with Lundeen collecting 44 assists for IPFW.

Ohio State 3, Mercyhurst 0
The 10th-ranked Ohio State (9-1, 1-0 Midwestern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association) men’s volleyball team defeated Mercyhurst (0-9, 0-4), 3-0 (30-16, 30-18, 30-18) Saturday night in the MC Athletic Center. OSU’s Layne Dreven and Matthew Hankey each recorded 10 points to share match-high honors for the Buckeyes. Dreven had seven kills (.600), two ace serves and two assists blocks while Hankey had seven kills (.700), two ace serves and two assist blocks. Laker Dave Newman had a team-high six points with six kills (.417).

Ohio State opened game one with a 3-0 lead from a Dan Meske kill, a Laker error and a Dreven ace serve. Leading, 10-7, a John Albertson kill, a Daniel Mathews – Albertson – Sam Stevens block, a Mercyhurst error, an Albertson kill and a Meske ace serve opened up a 15-7 lead. At 15-9, two Laker errors and a Robbie Klein kill gave the Buckeyes an 18-9 lead. A Newman kill made it 18-10. A five-point OSU run began with a Meske kill. Two Dreven kills, one by Klein and an Albertson ace serve put the Ohio State lead to 23-10. Leading, 28-15, a Laker error set game point at 29-15. A Jeff Hartman kill stopped the game point at 29-16. Meske, with a kill, ended the game at 30-16. Ohio State hit .458 for the game to .000 for Mercyhurst.

Tied at three in game two, two kills from Hankey, a Laker error and an Albertson-Hankey block gave Ohio State a 6-3 lead. Leading, 9-7, Ohio State scored the next six points to open a 15-7 lead. Blocks by Mathews and Klein and Mathews and Dreven and four Mercyhurst errors completed the run. After a Tim Wagner kill (15-8), kills by Dreven, Hankey and Brett Versen opened the lead to 11 at 19-8. Leading, 22-13, two Albertson kills, an Albertson-Hankey block and a Versen ace serve took the margin to 13 at 26-13. A Bryan Ritter kill and a Laker error moved the score to 27-14. A Mathews-Albertson block gave OSU a 28-14 lead. A Buckeye error, a Pete Swauger ace serve and an OSU error cut the lead to 28-17. A Klein kill set game point at 29-17. A Joe Montroy kill stopped the game point at 29-18. The Buckeyes closed out the game with a Dreven kill to win the game, 30-18, and take a 2-0 lead in the match. The Buckeyes hit .417 for the game to -.148 for the Lakers.

Ohio State broke a 2-2 tie with a Laker error, a Dreven ace serve and an Albertson kill to take a 5-2 lead. A Buckeye error made it 5-3. OSU then scored the next six points to open an 11-3 lead. The run contained two Hankey kills, two Laker errors, a Versen ace serve and an Albertson kill. An OSU error made it 11-4. A Versen kill, a Hankey ace serve and a Mercyhurst error took the lead to 10 at 14-4. At 19-9, a Laker error, a Versen ace serve and a bad Mercyhurst set took the lead to 22-9. A 24-11 OSU lead expanded with two Laker errors and a Klein kill to 16 at 27-11. Three Buckeye errors cut the lead to 27-14. A Versen kill and an OSU error made it 28-25. A kill by Conor Martin set match point at 29-15. An OSU error made it 29-16. Two Laker ace serves by Mike Palaschak made it 29-18. A Mercyhurst error ended the game at 30-18 to give the Buckeyes a 3-0 victory in the match. OSU hit .550 for the game to .000 for Mercyhurst.

Ohio State hit .417 for the match to -.057 for Mercyhurst. The Buckeyes had a 40-17 advantage in kills and a 10 to three margin in ace serves. Versen posted a match-high three aces in the match. Ohio State gave up 19 service errors to 14 for the Lakers. Defensively, the Buckeyes had a 23-19 edge in digs with OSU’s Martin recording a match-high seven. At the net, the Buckeyes had a team-high 8.5 blocks while the Lakers did not record a block in the match. OSU’s Albertson posted a match-high five assist blocks for the Buckeyes. OSU setter Mathews recorded 32 assists in the match while David Hatten had nine and Swauger, seven for the Lakers.