CHICAGO, Ill. – The No. 4 Ohio State University men’s volleyball team (11-4, 4-2 MIVA) dropped a five-set affair to the eighth-ranked Ramblers of Loyola University (12-3, 5-1 MIVA) Saturday (Feb. 24) night in the Windy City. The first two sets went to the Buckeyes before a three-set flurry from Loyola closed out the evening (20-25, 15-25, 25-21, 25-23, 17-15).
Ohio State attacked. 368 on the strength of 20-plus kill efforts by both Jake Hanes and Nicolas Szerszen. Hanes was responsible for 24 points in total, adding two aces and a pair of block assists to his 21 kills at a .390 attacking rate. Szerszen tallied 23 points while swinging .457 for 20 kills and tacking on three aces. He and Sanil Thomas were both double-double performers with 10 digs apiece (Thomas also dished out 57 assists).
SET 1: Trailing 14-11, Ohio State rattled off five straight points to take the lead for good at 16-14. The five-point surge included two Maxime Hervoir service aces and two kills from Hanes. Szerszen took care of the rest, bouncing seven kills as the Buckeyes seized the opener 25-20 on a 14-6 run to end it.
SET 2: The Buckeye offense elevated to the next level in set number two, hitting .526 and gashing Loyola for six aces. Ohio State dominated the frame, allowing only six Rambler ‘earned points’ (three kills, two blocks and an ace) in a 25-15 winner.
SET 3: Despite a 6-0-11 (.545) attacking line from Hanes in the third frame, Ohio State couldn’t keep pace with the Ramblers in a 25-21 set to keep Loyola alive. An 80% side-out percentage proved beneficial for Loyola in forcing a match extension.
SET 4: The most hotly-contested set of the evening came next, seeing 11 tied scores and five lead changes. Ohio State snagged 12 of 15 points mid-set to trade in a 10-5 deficit for a 17-14 edge. Loyola then got hot from the baseline though, utilizing three aces to continue its comeback in the 25-23 equalizer.
SET 5: Ohio State owned two-point edges at 3-1, 4-2, 7-5, 8-6, 9-7 and 10-8. The Buckeyes had first crack at match point as well, spoiled by a service error to even the tally at 14-14. The Ramblers wrangled three of the subsequent four rallies and walked away as 17-15 victors.
Next week sends the Scarlet & Gray to Lebanon, Ill., for a two-match weekend at McKendree University (March 2-3).