January 9, 2019

Top-12 Foes Await Out West

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COLUMBUS, Ohio – The No. 7 Ohio State University men’s volleyball team (2-0) embarks on a cross-country journey this week which will include stops at No. 5 BYU (0-0) and No. 11 Stanford (2-0). The early season test begins Thursday evening in Provo, Utah, taking on the Cougars at 9 p.m. ET. Two days later, Ohio State then faces The Cardinal in Palo Alto, Calif., for a 10 p.m. ET start.

HISTORY WITH THE COUGARS AND THE CARDINAL
After topping BYU in back-to-back NCAA Championship matches (2016-2017), the Buckeyes dropped a five-setter in Columbus last season. Overall, the Cougars own a 13-6 edge in the all-time series and a 4-3 mark in Provo. The recent ledger with Stanford leans in favor of Ohio State and its three straight victories, but it’s the Cardinal which has won 10-of-14 tilts since the initial meeting in 1981.

HANES HAULS IN WEEKLY AWARDS
Jakes Hanes was responsible for over six points per set in Ohio State’s 2-0 opening weekend, attacking .469 in seven sets. His stellar performance was recognized by both the MIVA (co-Offensive Player of the Week) and OfftheBlockBlog.com (National Opposite Hitter of the Week).

OFFENSE COMES OUT FIRING
Sanil Thomas directed the Ohio State attack to a .408 hitting percentage in the opening week of 2019, the second-highest rate in the country. Jake Hanes’ paced the NCAA with 5.29 kills/set and 6.14 points/set after delivering five aces from the service stripe. Blake Leeson was very efficient as well, hitting .600 (fifth-best nationally).

TOP-10 TRENDS
Ohio State is ranked inside the AVCA Coaches Poll Top-10 for the 44th consecutive time. During this stretch which started on Apr. 4, 2015, the Buckeyes have been slotted No. 1 more than a third of the time (16 of 45 polls).

Last time outside the Top-10:  Apr. 4, 2015
Last time unranked (Top-15):  Final poll of 2014

2019 PRESEASON ALL-MIVA TEAM
Jake Hanes, Blake Leeson and Sanil Thomas were each voted to the 12-man 2019 Preseason All-MIVA Team. In addition, Ohio State is slotted third in the Preseason Coaches Poll. The Buckeyes, winners of three straight regular season titles, received two of eight first-place votes from the conference’s head coaches as just five points separated the top three selections (Lewis, Loyola Chicago and Ohio State).

2019 PRESEASON COACHES POLL (points) (first-place votes)

  1. Lewis (58) (4)
  2. Loyola (54) (1)
  3. Ohio State (53) (2)
  4. Ball State (38) (1)
  5. Purdue Fort Wayne (36)
  6. Lindenwood (23)
  7. McKendree (18)
  8. Quincy (8)

HANES NAMED A PRESEASON ALL-AMERICAN
A 19-person nationwide committee voted 21 players to the Off the Block Preseason All-American Teams and Ohio State’s Jake Hanes was chosen for the Second Team. Sanil Thomas also received votes on multiple ballots.

THOMAS RETURNS AS NATION’S TOP ASSIST ACCUMULATOR 
Sanil Thomas is back for his senior season after leading the entire country with 11.28 assists per set in 2018. The Buckeye offense attacked .343 under Thomas’ direction, ranking third nationally.