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FORT WAYNE, Ind. – The Ohio State University men’s volleyball team hadn’t lost to the Mastodons since 2015 prior to Tuesday night’s road defeat (34-32, 25-17, 25-23). The OSU winning streak included nine matches, a lone dropped set and three different university names for the ‘dons (IPFW, Fort Wayne and now Purdue Fort Wayne).
No. 15 Purdue Fort Wayne (7-4, 1-0 MIVA) overcame 23 services errors and attacked .333 to break up the streak. The Buckeyes (4-6, 0-2 MIVA) struggled from the service stripe as well, committing 17 serving gaffes.
Freshman Ethan Talley made his fourth consecutive start in the middle, and delivered 10 kills on 14 errorless attempts (.714) for a team-leading 10 points. He was collaborating with fellow rookie Luke Lentin who assisted 27 times in his first career start. The Buckeye setter added three digs, an ace and kill to his starting debut stat line.
SET 1: What a wild start to the match! Action spilled over into the 30s with 24 tied scores and seven lead changes in the opening set alone. Talley set the tone early, killing all five swings including a pair in ‘overtime’ past the 25-point mark. Purdue Fort Wayne’s Pelegrin Vargas finally put an end to the stalemate, delivering a kill and ace on back-to-back rallies for a 34-32 Mastodon winner.
SET 2: Sean Ryan and Talley posted efficient offensive numbers in the second, combining for seven kills on 12 swings. The Buckeye tandem received little help, however, and Purdue Fort Wayne hummed along at a .450 attacking rate (13-4-20) in the 25-17 triumph.
SET 3: Leading 20-16 late in the frame, Purdue Fort Wayne stumbled a bit, ending four straight rallies with errors before calling a timeout. The Buckeyes failed to take advantage though, recording a lone offensive point the remainder of the 25-23 clincher.
Ohio State’s next opportunity comes in a big way, heading west to face No. 6 UC Santa Barbara (9-3) and No. 1 Long Beach State (10-0) at Walter Pyramid on Feb. 8 and Feb. 9, respectively.