Feb. 4, 2016
COLUMBUS, Ohio – The No. 7 Ohio State University men’s volleyball team grinded out a hard-fought four-set victory over long-time conference rival IPFW Thursday (Feb. 4) night to improve to 8-2 overall and 3-0 in Midwestern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association play. The Buckeyes extended their current winning streak to seven consecutive matches and withstood 46 tied scores and 17 lead changes to take the contest: 25-17, 21-25, 27-25, 25-14. It marks Ohio State’s 40th win over IPFW in the history of St. John Arena and improves the OSU all-time series lead to 72-37.
Ohio State stuffed the Mastodons (4-5, 0-1 MIVA) a total of 11 times on the night, helping to limit the IPFW attack at a .126 hitting efficiency. Meanwhile, the Buckeyes swung at a .314 clip with 45 kills. Nicolas Szerszen, Miles Johnson and Christy Blough all contributed heavily on both sides of the net, each recording double-doubles. All three Buckeyes accumulated 10 digs defensively. Blough added 32 assists while Szerszen (16) and Johnson (12) combined for 28 kills. And while Dorn paced the squad with five total blocks, the aforementioned trio of double-double producers each got in on at least a pair rejections.
The Mastodons gained an early advantage in the opener, leading 10-7 following three quick OSU attacking blunders. That lead quickly dissipated though when the Buckeyes jumped ahead for good at 12-11 en route to a 25-17 winner. Ohio State seized 18 of the final 25 points to go up a set.
Set number two was quite the opposite. It was Ohio State who lost control of a 10-7 upper hand this tim. The Mastodons fell back as far as 14-10 before surging past OSU as 25-21 victors. An IPFW timeout trailing 21-20 flipped the switch and led into a set-clinching five-point run to end it.
The third frame quickly turned into a slugfest, evidenced by a whopping 20 tied scores and neither school owning a lead of more than two points throughout. Szerszen landed the most haymakers in the back-and-forth melee, blasting eight kills alone. It was Blough closing the door, however, annihilating an overpass for the set winner at 27-25. Kills by Szerszen and Johnson moments earlier made it all possible, each fending off set-point opportunities for the Mastodons at 24-23 and 25-24.
Ohio State put it all together in the fourth, hitting .550 and drowning IPFW’s offense into the negatives (-.077) with a dozen digs and three total blocks. The Buckeyes went on a 9-2 run mid-set and never looked back in a convincing final frame, 25-14.
Conference competition continues on Saturday (Feb. 6) when the 14th-ranked Ball State Cardinals (5-3) come to town for a 7 p.m. match inside St. John Arena.