March 1, 2019

Offense Hits Nearly .400 in League Win


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COLUMBUS, Ohio – March brought the return of Preseason All-American Jake Hanes to the starting lineup, a record book worthy performance from freshman Ethan Talley and most importantly a four-set victory (25-23, 19-25, 25-18, 26-24) for Ohio State over McKendree. Hanes bounced 25 kills while Talley became just the fifth Buckeye to ever finish a match hitting 1.000 (minimum of 10 attempts).


Hanes’ 25 kills came at a .370 clip (25-8-46) and were more than the McKendree’s top two kill producers combined (21). And while Talley was a perfect 10-for-10, Blake Leeson was lethal from the middle as well with 10 kills on 18 attempts and a lone error (.500). Speaking of a .500 hitting percentage, that’s where Kyle Skinner came out at after connecting for seven kills on 10 swings with two errors. Jack Stevens earned the starting nod and delivered a half dozen kills while excelling as a primary passer.

Navigating the Ohio State offense was freshman Luke Lentin, assisting on 62 of the 64 Buckeye kills. He also tied Luke Meidel with a team-high seven digs, and directly contributed two points at the service stripe.

SET 1:  Ohio State infiltrated McKendree’s defense from the left side with Martin Lallemand and Stevens each putting away five kills on a combined total of just 14 attempts. The Buckeyes swung .483 for the set and out-killed MU 18-8. Eight service errors kept it too close for comfort though, separating by the minimal two points, 25-23, in the night’s opening act.

SET 2:  After a sluggish start in the first, Hanes came alive in Set 2. He drilled seven kills with Leeson adding three more from the middle. The two skyscrapers received little to no help, however, and McKendree registered the 25-19 equalizer.

SET 3:  Lentin and the Buckeye offense upped the ante a bit in the third, terminating at a .483 rate (16-2-29). Tied as late as 13-all, Ohio State caught fire in the set’s second half and pulled away 25-18. The Buckeye explosion was ignited by a five-point run at 13-13 and ultimately ended with a 12-5 run.

SET 4:  Fourth-set kills:  Hanes 11, McKendree 10. The big man shed all traces of rust in the fourth. He capped off his first start since suffering a foot injury on Jan. 26 by carrying his squad to the winner’s circle. It wasn’t all rainbows and sunshine in Set 4 as the Buckeyes dug themselves a 10-5 hole. Ohio State flipped the script from there and knotted the score at 15-15. McKendree shook it off and put itself in position for consecutive set-point opportunities up 24-22 late in the frame. Hanes wasn’t having any of it. He constructed a streak of kill-kill-ace-kill to erect a 26-24 come-from-behind match clincher.

Same place, same teams on Sunday at 2 p.m. ET.