COLUMBUS, Ohio – For the second time in as many matches this week, Ohio State climbed out of two-sets-to-one deficits and ultimately walk off the court as five-set victors. In fitting fashion, the Buckeyes defeated a pair of long-time conference rivals to close out St. John Arena’s 52-year stint as the home for Ohio State Men’s Volleyball. Saturday’s triumph came over Ball State by scores of 19-25, 25-17, 15-25, 25-23, 15-9. Coincidentally, both wins included a two-point margin in the fourth frame followed by a 15-9 fifth set tally.
Ohio State (10-18, 5-9 MIVA) concludes the regular season on a high note with back-to-back league wins and will enter the 2019 MIVA Tournament as the No. 7 seed. Ball State, meanwhile, dropped to the fifth seed at 6-8 in MIVA play and 15-14 overall.
🌰 Ohio State improves to 99-86 all-time vs. the Cardinals, including a 56-33 mark inside St. John Arena
🌰 Ohio State posted a 566-110 record (.837) inside St. John Arena over the last 5+ decades
🌰 Fifth-year senior Blake Leeson registered the final point at St. John Arena, a kill for point 15 in the fifth set
🌰 Fellow fifth-year senior Aaron Samarin dug a career-high 17 balls
🌰 Senior setter Sanil Thomas earned his eighth career double-double (46 assists, 11 digs)
🌰 All this came on ‘Senior Night 2019’
Reese Devilbiss and Jake Hanes carried much of the offensive load, combining for 33 of the team’s 50 kills. Devilbiss fired away from the left pin to the tune of 14 kills at a .435 attacking rate while Hanes held down the right side with 19 kills and a .255 hitting percentage.
SET 1-3: Lopsided sets with just two lead changes in total and scarce tied scores. Much like Thursday night (Apr. 4), the Buckeyes found themselves in a 2-1 hole.
SET 4: Devilbiss, Hanes and Leeson were responsible for 13 points in the fourth. Devilbiss put away four kills and got in on two block assists. Leeson was more defensive in his point scoring, posting four block assists and two kills. Hanes had a similar outing to Devilbiss, throwing three kills and two block assists onto the stat sheet.
Trailing 11-7, the Buckeyes seized eight of the next nine rallies to go ahead at 15-12. Devilbiss contributed three kills and and a stuff during that match-altering 9-point stretch.
Ball State battled back late in the set though and closed the gap to a lone tally at 24-23. Leeson was having none it, connecting with Thomas for a clinching kill at 25-23.
SET 5: Samarin followed up a five-dig fourth set by picking up six more in the truncated 15-9 fifth frame. A half dozen digs in 24 rallies. Whoa crazy crazy.
With the match on the line, Thomas leaned on his top weapon … Jake Hanes. Thomas sent 12 sets in his opposite hitter’s direction. Hanes terminated five of those swings with no errors (.417), including a kill that registered at 74 miles per hour on the in-arena radar gun (Hanes fired back-to-back aces earlier in the match that lit the gun for 76 and 74 mph). A four-point mid-set spurt elevated the Buckeyes on top for good. Hanes continued to drop in bombs before a BSU overpass was obliterated by Leeson to finish off the evening, 15-9.
Ohio State hits the road for postseason action next week, venturing to Loyola Chicago for the MIVA Quarterfinals on Saturday, Apr. 13.