Jan. 7, 2015
RIVERSIDE, Calif. – For the third time in as many matches, the No. 14 Ohio State men’s volleyball team walked out of the gym with a four-set win victory (29-31, 25-18, 25-20, 26-24) in hand. The latest came on the road at Cal Baptist (1-0) to start a three-match west coast swing. The Buckeyes have begun the season 3-0 for the first time since 2007.
Gabriel Domecus donned the libero jersey against the Lancers and responded with a career-high 15 digs. All but one of Domecus’ digs came in Ohio State’s three winning sets, including a half dozen dug balls in the match-clinching fourth frame winner. Dustan Neary and Nicolas Szerszen each got in on five blocks to lead the defensive effort up front.
Szerszen provided some offensive oomph as well, combining with Michael Henchy for 36 kills as both Buckeyes attacked above the .350 mark. Neary was also productive on the attack, swinging .375 on eight attempts (5-2-8).
After failing to take advantage of 12 CBU service errors in the opening set, dropping the period 31-29, Ohio State rallied to secure the next three sets. There were 13 tied scores and seven lead changes before the Lancers were finally able to capitalize on their fourth set point and close the door at 31-29.
The Buckeyes unhitched the wagon in set number two, putting away 14 kills at a .333 clip. The duo of Henchy-Szerszen inflicted most of the damage with 11 kills, including a termination from Henchy to break a 12-12 tie and give OSU the lead for good. The Buckeyes would go on a 13-6 run from there and even the match at one set apiece.
The engine roared louder in set number three as Henchy drilled seven kills and Ohio State posted three rejections. The Buckeyes attacked .577 while limiting CBU to a .167 rate. A five-point spurt sparked by back-to-back kills from Neary extended a one-point margin to a 14-9 OSU edge. The Buckeyes would remain on top the rest of the way, closing it out at 25-20.
A gritty 15-dig effort fueled Ohio State’s 26-24 squeaker in the fourth. California Baptist hit just .135, unable to consistently find the hardwood on 37 attempts against the Buckeye defense. An impressive blocking performance (six stuffs) kept the Lancers in it, however, earning a set point at 24-23. Ohio State ripped off the next three points though and clinched the match, 26-24.
Hawaii is up next for the Scarlet & Gray, a trip which entails matches against the host Warriors and UC Irvine on Friday, Jan. 9.