COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Ohio State University men’s volleyball team (10-7, 2-4 MIVA) returns to the Covelli Center after two weeks away, hosting a pair of matches this week. First is a midweek MIVA contest against Ball State (10-6, 3-3 MIVA) set for Wednesday (March 4) at 7 p.m. ET. The Buckeyes then step out of conference play for an afternoon in facing No. 8 Penn State (11-6, 7-0 EIVA) on Sunday (March 8) at 3 p.m. ET.
HISTORY WITH THE CARDINALS
One of the longest and most bitter rivalries in men’s collegiate volleyball pits Ohio State vs. Ball State. The two Midwest institutions have clashed 184 times since 1968. Ohio State’s next win in the series will be No. 100, leading the all-time ledger 99-85. In Columbus, the Buckeye advantage sits at 56-33. Ohio State has found recent success vs. the Cardinals as well, winning eight of the last 11 meetings.
HISTORY WITH THE NITTANY LIONS
The Buckeyes went on the road and topped Penn State earlier this season (Feb. 1) in three sets (recap; box score). Ohio State has been victorious in seven of the last nine and nine of 12, but the Nittany Lions are on top overall at 73-43-1. When competing in front of Buckeye Nation in Columbus, Ohio State was sent away Penn State with a loss 24 times (24-13 home record vs. PSU).
Ohio State is ranked top-12 nationally in two statistical categories, one offensive and one defensive. The Buckeyes are slotted 10th with a .304 hitting percentage while digging 9.47 balls per set, ranking 11th among 45 D I-II teams. Those numbers are good for second and third in the MIVA, respectively.
Individually, three Buckeyes are slotted top-4 among MIVA competitors and top-40 nationally:
Michael Wright | 10.12 assists/set (4th in MIVA; 10th nationally)
Luke Meidel | 2.18 digs/set (4th; 16th)
Martin Lallemand | 3.89 points/set (6th; 33rd), 3.20 kills/set (8th; 38th)
Reese Devilbiss | .335 hitting percentage (5th; 23rd), 3.33 kills/set (6th; 31st), 3.76 points/set (8th; 38th)
FRESHMEN MAKING IMMEDIATE IMPACT
Michael Wright received National Freshman of the Week honors on Feb. 3 from Off the Block, the nation’s premier website for coverage of collegiate men’s volleyball. He steered the Ohio State offense to a .396 team hitting percentage with 64 assists during a pair of road sweeps at Saint Francis and Penn State.
Samuel Clark was selected for the same award on Jan. 21 after attacking .769 with 10 kills, eight blocks and five digs in wins over Lincoln Memorial and King.
Four weeks into the 2020 season and Ohio State had corralled three MIVA Defensive Player of the Week awards, earned by three different Buckeyes. Martin Lallemand started the trended during the opening week before Samuel Clark and Tim Baldwin went back-to-back on Jan. 21 and 28.