COLUMBUS, Ohio – The No. 1 Ohio State University men’s volleyball program tightened its grip on the top spot in the Midwestern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association (MIVA) standings by notching the sixth conference win of the season. Ohio State downed Lindenwood (0-12, 0-7 MIVA) in four sets (25-20, 22-25, 25-21, 25-16) to improve to 15-0 overall and 6-0 in league play. The victory also marked the Buckeyes’ 38th straight dating back to last year.
Nicolas Szerszen did a little bit of everything, pacing the squad with 15 kills and three aces while also chipping in seven digs and two blocks. Driss Guessous also performed at a high level, delivering 10 kills at a .634 attacking clip to go along with three digs, two blocks and an ace. Gabriel Domecus proved to be a key factor in the Buckeye success as well, picking up a match-high 10 digs. Freshman Reese Devilbiss took advantage of his starting nod, connecting on seven kills and digging seven balls.
• Ohio State is riding a 38-match winning streak
• Marks the longest winning streak in OSU Athletics history for teams competing in head-to-head competition
• The Buckeyes last suffered an NCAA loss on February 6, 2016
• Ohio State has won 114 of 136 sets (84%) during the victorious stretch
• The streak includes six wins over Top-5 opponents and nearly half (18) against teams ranked inside the Top-12
• Also included in the streak are 16 straight wins in true road matches
• Loyola owns 40-match run in 2014-15 while UCLA is believed to own the all-time record of 47 straight (1979-80 and 1983-85)
Set 1: Ohio State strung together four straight points, going from down one at 8-7 to in the lead 11-8. The Buckeyes methodically penetrated Lindenwood’s defense, avoiding all blocking efforts and committing zero attack errors on 21 attempts with 14 kills (.667). Christy Blough spread it around evenly, pairing up with four different teammates for three or more terminations. Despite a late Lion push forcing the Buckeyes to burn a timeout at 23-20, Ohio State ultimately came out on top 25-20.
Set 2: Getting past the Lindenwood front line proved much more difficult in set number two. Ohio State was stuffed four times and fell victim to a Lion ace in a flurry ending with the Lions leading 5-1. Lindenwood rejected OSU four more times by set’s end, combining with six Ohio State serving errors to bury the Buckeyes 25-22.
Set 3: The Buckeyes got back on track in the third, surging out an 8-4 edge. That four-point cushion would reappear again 14 times, including a final ledger of 25-21. Blough diplomatically distributed the ball to all angles of the court once again, finding five hitters for multiple kills.
Set 4: Ohio State hosted a block party of their own in the fourth, swatting the Lions a half dozen times. The Buckeyes held Lindenwood to a .185 attack percentage while cruising along at .562 themselves in a 25-16 clincher. Guessous terminated four of five swings and recorded two blocks, one solo stuff, to close the night on a high note.
Grand Canyon University (9-5, 5-1 MIVA) plays host to the Buckeyes for a double dip next week, squaring off in the desert on Friday (Feb. 24) and Sunday (Feb. 26).