March 2, 2018
LEBANON, Ill. — The No. 9 Ohio State University men’s volleyball team (12-4, 5-2 MIVA) shook off a 26-24 setback to start the night by charging back to take the next three sets in a road victory at McKendree (6-9, 3-4 MIVA). Ohio State sandwiched a tight 25-23 third set with a pair of lopsided ledgers of 25-15 and 25-12 in the second and fourth frames, respectively. The Buckeyes never trailed after set number one.
Sanil Thomas averaged a whopping 13.0 assists per set, guiding the Buckeye attack to a .405 team hitting efficiency. Maxime Hervoir and Jake Hanes combined for 46.5 points, each contributing tallies on the attack, from the service stripe and defensively at the net. Hervoir paced all players at 24 points, terminating 20 kills at a .548 (20-3-31) rate to go along with three aces and a pair of block assists. Hanes was responsible for 22.5 points on 18 kills (.455 hitting percentage), three aces and three block assists. He and Hervoir both recorded double-doubles by adding 10 or more digs. Hanes’ 13 digs were matched by Aaron Samarin for the team high.
Not to be outdone, Blake Leeson’s eight kills on 14 error-free attempts produced a match-best .571 hitting efficiency. And Nicolas Szerszen made an impact as well, good for 11 kills and nine digs.
SET 1: Nearly identical box scores appeared for both teams in the evening’s opening set. The statistical symmetry was reflected in the set score, too, spilling past 25 points. Following 14 tied scores and four lead changes, McKendree ultimately put the set away as 26-24 victors. That would mark the final upper hand of the night for the Bearcats, however.
SET 2: A kill from Hanes to start the set handed the ball over to Szerszen at the service line. It was a long stay, rattling off the next seven points to go ahead 8-0. The final three points of the 8-0 spurt all came via Hervoir kills. Ohio State rolled to a 25-15 equalizer. Standing at 6-foot-10, Hanes managed to dig seven balls in the second stanza.
SET 3: Hervoir kept it coming in the third, bouncing all seven attack attempts for kills. Despite another two-point margin in the final score, 25-23, the Bearcats never mustered an edge throughout the entire set. Each of the five times McKendree pulled even within the first 20 rallies, including the final occurrence at 10-10, they were met by a Buckeye point to regain the lead. Hanes delivered the final dagger to cap it 25-23.
SET 4: Hervoir delivered three service aces while watching Hanes demolish eight kills on nine attempts and Leeson going a perfect 4-for-4 on the attack in the 25-12 clincher. Ohio State overpowered the Bearcats en route to a .652 attacking clip. McKendree burned timeouts at 7-3 and 14-6, but couldn’t cool off the smoldering OSU offense.
Same place, same time Saturday night for the Buckeyes taking on McKendree again at 8 p.m. ET/7 p.m. CT.