April 23, 2016
COLUMBUS, Ohio – The No. 2 Ohio State University men’s volleyball team earned an automatic bid into the 2016 NCAA Tournament Saturday night by defeating No. 12 Lewis (19-13) in five sets to claim the MIVA Tournament title, completing a MIVA trophy sweep after winning the regular season championship as well. The Buckeyes improve to 28-3 overall and extend their current winning streak to 20 consecutive matches.
-28 wins is the most in a season since the 1993 squad posted a 28-10 mark
-First MIVA Tournament title and NCAA Tournament appearance since 2011
-15th MIVA Tournament crown all-time, breaking a tie with Ball State (14) for most in conference history
-Ohio State has won 60 of 73 sets played during the 20-match winning streak
-Ohio State hasn’t suffered a loss since Feb. 6, a span of over 80 days
-NCAA Selection Show starts at 1 p.m. ET Sunday (April 24), streamed online at www.NCAA.com
Three Buckeyes were placed on the All-MIVA Tournament team, including the event’s MVP – Nicolas Szerszen. The 2016 MIVA Player of the Year was joined on the all-tourney squad by teammates Christy Blough and Miles Johnson.
Twenty-four different players saw action in the marathon five-setter, 13 for Lewis and 11 for Ohio State. Both teams attempted well over 100 attacks as the two sides exchanged haymakers throughout the evening.
Szerszen led all comers with 21 kills, accompanied by 16 more from Johnson. Gabriel Domecus cracked double digits on the defensive end, picking up an impressive 14 digs (five more than anyone else on the court for either team).
Nearly everything was clicking for Ohio State in the opening frame, terminating 12 of the first 15 errorless swings to pull ahead 19-14. Superb passing led to a sideout percentage of 94 percent (18 of 19) and three blocks defensively all combined to doom the Flyers. The final two stuffs came on back-to-back plays when Blake Leeson and company rejected Lewis for point number 23 and 24. A Flyer service error came shortly thereafter to seal the deal 25-18.
Don’t let the final Set 2 score fool you. It was much closer than the 25-17 final ledger in favor of the Buckeyes would indicate. Ohio State’s edge was a lone point as late as 18-17 before Peter Edwards stepped to the service stripe and made camp for the next seven straight victorious points to close it out.
Set number three was another barnburner, serving as the stage for 12 tied scores and seven lead changes. The final swap occurred on a late four-point run by Lewis which flipped a two-point deficit (22-20) into a two-point advantage (24-22). Christian Franceschi’s kill fended off the first set-point threat, but a Flyer kill quickly ensued to clinch it, 25-23. Lewis then kept it rolling in the fourth frame, jumping out ahead early and never looking back in the 25-17 equalizer.
The decisive fifth set is when Szerszen ensured he’d be tabbed the tournament’s Most Valuable Player, going off for five kills on 10 swings. As a whole unit, the Buckeyes bounced eight of 15 attempts for kills with Blough assisting on seven. Despite the truncated format of a fifth set’s race to 15 points, the score locked up six different times. Falling behind 9-6 did little to derail Lewis, storming back to even it up at 9-9. The teams would return to ‘all-square’ at 10-all and 11-all as well before consecutive point-scoring efforts from Johnson lifted Ohio State on top for good. Serving 14-12, Franceschi dropped in an untouched ace to send Ohio State into the NCAA Tournament.
ICYMI: Video of championship point —> https://t.co/QkubexddpU
— OSU Men's Volleyball (@OhioState_MVB) April 24, 2016