April 9, 2014


COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Ohio State men’s volleyball team (11-14, 6-7 MIVA) hosts the top-ranked Loyola Ramblers (23-1, 13-0) Friday night inside St. John Arena at 7 p.m. ET, putting a close to the 2014 regular season. The team will honor four seniors prior to the match – Danny Baker, Peter Heinen, Jonathan Newton and Michael Piechowski.

The match will be streamed live on Buckeye Vision.

Ohio State picked up a road win in their last contest on Sunday, topping George Mason 3-1 to conclude a split weekend after dropping a Friday five-setter to IPFW.

Redshirt junior Andrew Lutz finished with a match-high 19 kills in the win, while redshirt freshman Driss Guessous totaled 15 kills with four blocks (1s, 3a). Freshman Christy Blough had 48 assists and a career-best six blocks (2s, 4a). Libero Michael Piechowski tied a season-best with 13 digs and Dustan Neary finished with eight kills and five blocks (1s, 4a).

Historic St. John Arena has been home to the Ohio State men’s volleyball team since the program started in 1968. The Buckeyes have amassed a record of 491-99 in 46 years and have totaled six undefeated seasons at home.

In its 46th season in the league, the Ohio State men’s volleyball program has an impressive 398-104 overall record in the Midwestern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association (MIVA). The Buckeyes have captured a conference-best 24 regular season titles and 14 MIVA Tournament championships. Overall, Ohio State has produced 20 MIVA player of the year awards and has garnered 172 all-MIVA selections

Under head coach Pete Hanson, Ohio State is 254-83 and has won 15 regular season titles over Hanson’s 29 seasons. He has been named the conference’s coach of the year 11 times and has guided the team to 10 MIVA tournament crowns.

Ohio State was ranked or received votes in the first 14 weeks of the AVCA Division I-II Coaches Top 15 poll. This week, Loyola continues to sit atop of the poll at No. 1, while fellow MIVA institutions Lewis (No. 11), Ball State (No. 13) and IPFW (No. 14) are also nationally ranked.

Five Buckeyes have totaled double-doubles this season with junior outside hitter Michael Henchy leading the way with four so far. The Ventura, Calif., product recently totaled a double-double against MIVA rival Lindenwood, having 19 kills and 12 digs against the Lions.

Freshman Christy Blough and redshirt junior Andrew Lutz each has a pair of double-doubles this year. Blough picked up his first against Cal State Northridge (57 assists, 11 digs) and followed with another at Ball State (49a, 11d). Highlighting Lutz’s performances was his 29 kills and 12 digs against CSU Northridge. Redshirt junior Peter Heinen had a double-double at home against Ball State with 47 assists and 11 digs. Freshman outside hitter Miles Johnson earned the first of his career at Long Beach State, totaling 11 kills and 11 digs.

The Buckeye back row has put together big numbers as of late for the Ohio State defense. Leading the way for the squad is junior outside hitter Michael Henchy. The Ventura, Calif., native has a team-best 166 digs this season with a 1.78 average (47th nationally). His 1.98 average in league play ranks ninth. He has totaled five double-digit dig performances this year, including a season-high 15 at Long Beach State.

Freshmen Miles Johnson and Christy Blough have put together career dig numbers recently and the pair is averaging 1.40 and 1.17 digs per set, respectively. Each has two performances with double-digit digs this year. Classmate Gabriel Domecus has four matches with double-digit digs, while junior Andrew Lutz has three.

A pair of middles in Driss Guessous and Dustan Neary has provided big numbers for the Buckeyes both defensively and offensively at the net. Guessous, a redshirt freshman from Pasadena, Calif., has a team-best 88 (24s, 64a) blocks on the season for .92 average. Neary, a junior from Ventura, Calif., is second on the team with a .81 average and has 74 (6s, 68a) blocks.

The duo is also doing great things offensively for Ohio State as each are among the Top 5 in kills on the squad. Guessous is third with 251 kills on the season and a 2.61 average. His .450 attack percentage is second in the MIVA and ranks fourth nationally. To be ranked, a hitter must average 3.0 attempts per set. Neary has a 1.21 kills average and is hitting a solid .436 at the net.

A trio of true freshmen has been solid contributors to the Ohio State squad this season in Miles Johnson, Christy Blough and Gabriel Domecus.

Johnson, who hails from Carlsbad, Calif., has stepped up offensively for the Buckeyes. The outside hitter has totaled seven double-digit kill performances, including five in the last 10 matches. He’s averaging 1.89 kills per set to rank fourth on the team. Johnson ranks first on the squad in service aces, having 22 overall.

Blough has started 19 matches at setter and has a team-best 816 assists with a 10.88 average. He’s reached 50 or more assists six times this season and has two double-doubles (assists/digs) so far. Domecus has started in 19 of the team’s 25 matches this season with 15 at libero. He is second on the squad with 145 digs and a 1.59 average.

A handful of Buckeyes reached career marks at the Active Ankle Classic in Long Beach, Calif., March 14-15.

Highlighting all performances was redshirt junior Andrew Lutz’s offensive production against Cal State Northridge. The North Reading, Mass., product totaled a career-high 29 kills in the match and his 66 attempts also set a career mark.

Freshmen Christy Blough and Miles Johnson each had career performances on the weekend as well. Blough reached 60 assists at Long Beach State and notched the first double-double of his career against CSUN with 57 assists and 11 digs. Johnson set a career-best in digs Saturday with 12 and also picked up a double-double on the weekend with 11 kills and 11 digs against LBSU.

The Ramblers of Loyola are the top-ranked team in the country and carry a 21-match winning streak into Columbus. Head coach Shane Davis’ squad is 23-1 overall and a flawless 13-0 in MIVA play. Earlier this season, Ohio State dropped a 3-0 road match at Loyola (15-25, 20-25, 23-25). The Buckeyes still maintain a 31-15 all-time advantage against the Ramblers, however.

Loyola has already clinched the 2014 MIVA regular season title, its first since 2006. A trio of Ramblers lead the team offensively by averaging over three kills per set: Thomas Jaeschke (3.62), Cody Caldwell (3.27) and Joe Smalzer (3.21). Two Ramblers also boast hitting percentages above .500: Nicholas Olson (.515) and Owen McAndrews (.507.)

On the defensive side of the net, Nicholas Olson leads the way with a 1.12 blocks average while Thomas Jaeschke’s 2.12 digs average is tops on the team.

HEAD COACH Pete Hanson
The Buckeyes are led by head coach Pete Hanson, who is in his 30th year with the program. He has guided the Buckeyes to 15 MIVA regular season titles, including the six straight from 2007-2012. 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 592-319 overall at Ohio State in his 30 seasons and boasts a 254-83 record against MIVA opponents.

Buckeyes Michael Henchy and Driss Guessous earned the opportunity to don the Red, White and Blue this summer, representing the United States at the FIVB Men’s U-21 World Championship held Aug. 22-Sept. 1 in Ankara and Izmir, Turkey.

The pair was selected from a field of 22 in late June to the final 12-player roster. A familiar face was at the helm of the program in Ohio State’s own head coach Pete Hanson and Buckeye assistant Sean Byron also served the same capacity for Team USA.

Team USA struggled a bit throughout the tournament and finished the 20-team championship in 11th overall. Despite leaving Turkey without a medal, Team USA did leave on a high note with a three-set win over rival Canada.

The Ohio State men’s volleyball was chosen to finish third in the Midwestern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association by a vote of the league coaches. The Buckeyes return three starters from last year’s squad that finished tied for third in the league with a 9-5 record.

The 2012 MIVA Tournament champion and regular season co-champion Loyola was voted as the conference favorite with 62 points and seven first place votes. Lewis was picked to finish second with 57 points and one first place vote. Ohio State came in third with 47 points.

Junior outside hitter Michael Henchy was selected to the MIVA Preseason All-Conference team. The Ventura, Calif., product started in 25 matches for the Buckeyes last season and finished second on the squad with 301 kills and a 3.34 kills average. He was selected to the 2013 MIVA All-Conference first team and also earned preseason honors last year.

The Buckeyes start postseason play, competing in the first round of the MIVA Tournament. Ohio State will hit the road for the quarterfinals, playing on April 17, 18 or 19.