Unbeaten Home Mark Stretches to Five Matches
COLUMBUS, Ohio - The No. 13 Ohio State University men's volleyball team (6-2) picked up its fifth victory in as many home matches this season, downing Pfeiffer University (1-2) in four sets (25-22, 28-26, 20-25, 25-18). Seniors Shawn Herron and Dustan Neary manned the middle, combining for 17 kills on 23 swings with a lone error, two solo blocks and nine block assists.
Herron put away 10 kills and attacked at a rate of .700 or above for the second straight contest. He added a pair of solo swats and block assists as well. Neary was responsible for seven block assists and seven terminations on 11 errorless attempts (.636).
Freshman libero Aaron Samarin also had himself a day, racking up a career high 12 digs. Fellow frosh Nicolas Szerszen was Ohio State's top offensive scorer, reaching 15.5 points with 14 kills, an ace and block assist. Peter Edwards put forth 8.5 points, including three aces, in his first start as a Buckeye.
It was an afternoon of ups and downs for the Buckeyes, swinging .460-plus in the first and fourth sets while bogging down to sub-.100 attacking clips in the middle frames. Despite an .032 efficiency in set number two, Ohio State managed to scrape away a 28-26 triumph. The roller coaster ride resulted in a total of 14 lead changes and 26 tied scores in the contest.
Defense was scarce in the opening set as both squads seemingly scored at will. Szerszen belted five kills to go along with three terminations apiece from Herron and Neary. The Falcons came on hot, too, matching Ohio State's 14 kills. Leading 13-12, Pfeiffer ended three consecutive points with errors, allowing the Buckeyes to pull ahead for good. Herron drove in the final nail, bouncing a set from Christy Blough for the 25th point of the set.
A serving gap proved to be the difference in set number two. Ohio State posted a `plus-one' (four aces, three errors) from the stripe compared to seven points in the red for Pfeiffer (zero aces, seven errors). The eight-point service swing allowed OSU to get by 28-26. A block from Neary and Matt Pohlman followed by a Szerszen kill buried the Falcons for the final two tallies of the second stanza.
Ohio State got off track in the third, bearing witness to a 25-20 ledger in favor of the Falcons. Pfeiffer held a sizable edge for most of the set before the Buckeyes stormed back towards the back end. Ohio State strung together a four-point run, slicing a 22-14 deficit in half at 22-18, before ultimately being forced to a play a fourth frame.
The stat sheet for set number four was fool's gold. Ohio State dominated in nearly all statistical categories, yet found itself in a back-and-forth tilt featuring six lead changes and nine tied scores. A kill from Michael Henchy ignited a late-set explosion though as the Buckeyes rattled off eight straight to convert an 18-17 deficit into a 25-18 clincher.
Ohio State takes a break from competition next week before returning to action and continuing its elongated home stand on Feb. 6 vs. Quincy.