-- BTN Student U (@BTNStudentU) January 7, 2018
COLUMBUS, Ohio -- A baker's dozen worth of Buckeyes saw action in the first contest of 2018, each contributing to a 25-13, 25-18, 25-21 win over North Greenville University. Head coach Pete Hanson was able to dispatch a different `starting 6' in all three sets, getting a look at multiple combinations of players. Only four Buckeyes took the floor three times.
Reese Devilbiss paced the squad with 11 kills overall, attacking .500 on 18 attempts. Nicolas Szerszen was excellent in his two sets played as well, converting on seven of 10 attack attempts and digging a team-high eight balls. The evening's most impressive stat arguably came from 6-foot-10 redshirt freshman Jake Hanes, however, as the big fella got down for six digs in his two sets.
Christy Blough, the program's starting setter for the past three and a half seasons and current volunteer assistant coach, watched his protégé Sanil Thomas dish out 32 assists on the night while also picking up seven digs. From the middle, Blake Leeson was responsible for five kills on eight error-free swings (.625) with three blocks; and fifth-year senior Nick Laffin turned his first career start into four kills and a stuff.
As a team, Ohio State attacked .364 while limiting the Crusaders to a .149 offensive clip. The Buckeyes recorded advantageous statistical comparisons of 41-22 kills, and 31-18 digs.
Set 1: Ohio State overpowered the Crusdaders, stuffing them three times to bury the North Greenville attacking percentage into the red at minus-.050. Meanwhile, the Buckeye offense strolled to a dozen kills at a .409 rate to take the frame 25-13. An 8-0 mid-set blew things wide open.
Set 2: An 11-4 digging edge was pivotal in a victorious second set, including four apiece from Hanes and Szerszen. After Ohio State jumped ahead 8-4, the Crusaders countered to quickly even the score at 9-9. The tally remained knotted at 10-10 before the Buckeyes rattled off 15 of the next 23 points to secure a 25-18 winner.
Set 3: North Greenville refused go away quietly into the night, building three-point leads at 17-14 and 18-15. The Buckeyes responded with one last push though, running off five straight to seize the lead for good.