Feb. 26, 2016
COLUMBUS, Ohio — Defensive dominance in the opening frame accompanied by a crescendoing offensive effort lifted the Buckeyes to their fifth consecutive victory and 13th on the season. Ohio State (13-3) dug a dozen balls and rejected Pfeiffer University (9-6) five times in the first set while recording team attacking efficiencies increasing each subsequent set to sweep past the Falcons in just 66 minutes (25-20, 25-15, 25-20).
The Buckeyes attacked .413 for the match and added in eight tallies from the service stripe. Nicolas Szerszen accounted for 18 points, mostly coming via his team-leading 15 kills at a .480 hitting percentage. Five different Buckeyes chipped in an ace, including Matt Dorn, Miles Johnson and Blake Leeson each connecting on a pair. Dorn’s most vital contribution was on the defensive side of the net, however, racking up four block assists in the first set alone.
The NCAA’s top offensive squad needed to rely heavily on its defensive prowess in set number one. As mentioned above, Dorn got in on four of five Buckeye blocks and the Scarlet & Gray posted 12 digs to limit Pfeiffer to a .138 attacking percentage. Ohio State surged ahead 5-4 and never relinquished its edge from there. Johnson took care of the final touch, terminating a kill for the 25th point in a 25-20 OSU triumph.
A six-point for Ohio State early in set number two vaulted the Buckeyes to victory once again. The six-point spurt converted a 6-5 OSU deficit into an 11-6 advantage and started what would ultimately become a 20-9 set-ending stretch. Johnson again took care of the final tally, bouncing another kill to cap it off, 25-15.
Defense was at a premium during the final frame with both sides swinging above a .570 level, combining for just two attacking errors. Ohio State was able to put together another substantial run though, wrapping up the night riding a 10-6 streak. An Alex Judkins service ace was the `cherry on top’ to complete a set-differentiating period of four points, all going in favor of Ohio State forcing a Pfeiffer timeout at 22-17. The next six points were split evenly and OSU closed the door 25-20.
Next weekend brings in two-time defending national champion Loyola and reigning MIVA champion Lewis on Friday (March 4) and Saturday (March 5), respectively. Both pivotal conference clashes are slated for 7 p.m. starts inside St. John Arena.