COLUMBUS, Ohio – Midwestern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association history was made Friday night in St. John Arena as the top-ranked Buckeyes registered their 41st consecutive victory to surpass the 2014-15 Loyola Ramblers (40 straight) for the longest winning streak in the conference’s 56-year existence. Ohio State (18-0) got past Saint Francis (8-10) in four sets: 25-15, 23-25, 25-15, 25-15.
• Ohio State is riding a 41-match winning streak, the longest in MIVA history
• 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 (391 days)
• Ohio State has won 123 of 149 sets (83%) 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 18 straight wins in true road matches (last loss in an opponent's gym came in '15)
• UCLA set the all-time record of 47 straight in both 1979-80 and 1983-85
In addition to a +28 margin in the overall match score, Ohio State also dominated the match statistically. The Buckeyes tallied sizable advantages in hitting percentage (.347-.096), kills (50-30), aces (10-2) and digs (37-28) while also out-blocking the Red Flash, 7-5.
Gabriel Domecus led all players with eight digs, running his career total to 743 to pull even with Conor Martin (2005-08) for the second most in school history. Mik Berzins ranks first all-time owning 902 career digs. Miles Johnson and Blake Leeson helped halt the SFU attack as well, each getting in on four blocks including three stuffs as a tandem.
Offensively, Nicolas Szerszen carried the torch via 15 kills at a .448 attacking clip. Middles Driss Guessous and Leeson were also effective, combining for 17 kills on 27 attempts with just four errors (.481). Johnson chipped in a dozen kills. Eight different Buckeyes ripped a service ace, including one each from freshmen Dejon Clark, Andrew Hillman and Shawn Hughes.
Set 1: Ohio State ended the opening frame on a hot streak, grabbing nine of the last 12 as part of a stretch that began knotted at 7-7 and ended in a lopsided 25-15 final. Johnson bounced four kills on five error-free attempts.
Set 2: Momentum evaporated between sets as Saint Francis emerged with an upper hand right away in the second set. Ohio State trailed by a half dozen at 19-13 before storming back to within a pair at 19-17 and a lone tally moments later when Blough and Leeson rejected SFU’s Stephen Braswell for a 24-23 deficit. Saint Francis would terminate the next rally, however, to secure the set.
Set 3: The Buckeyes launched a serving assault in the third, connecting on six aces in the frame. Ohio State victimized Griffin Sangrey for four reception errors in addition to tagging both Braswell and Jeff Hogan for aces as well. Szerszen was not only responsible for one of the aces, but also did not miss the hardwood on four attack attempts. The Buckeyes never trailed en route to the second of what would eventually be three 25-15 triumphant set scores.
Set 4: All Buckeyes, all set. Ohio State made quick work of the Red Flash in set number four, closing out the contest with yet another 25-15 ledger. Eleven different Buckeyes saw action in the evening’s final period
St. John Arena re-opens next weekend (March 10-11) for a four-team clash. MIVA brethren Ohio State and Ball State will square off against the MPSF’s UC San Diego and UC Irvine in alternate nights. The Buckeyes face UC San Diego Friday and No. 6 UC Irvine Saturday.
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