COLUMBUS, Ohio -- With a group of service dogs in attendance to celebrate National Puppy Day, the No. 2 Ohio State men's volleyball team (22-1, 11-0 MIVA) sprinted past Fort Wayne (5-18, 2-9 MIVA) in straight sets spanning just 70 minutes (25-11, 25-11, 25-16). The defending national champions proved their bite is, indeed, as big as their bark in outscoring the Mastodons by an overall tally of 75-38.
Fans in attendance received a treat in the form of Ohio State's 26th straight victory over conference opponents. The Buckeyes are fetching their conference-best 26th regular season MIVA championship, lowering the `magic number' to four with the triumph over Fort Wayne.
Maxime Hervoir was Ohio State's top dog, leading the pack with 11 kills on 15 errorless attempts (.733) and four blocks (two solo). Ryan Genn served as Hervoir's best friend, delivering 10 kills, three aces and a block assist to rank second in the match with 13.5 points. Gabriel Domecus received positive reinforcement for digging, pacing all players with seven digs.
A litter of 12 different Buckeyes saw action as head coach Pete Hanson was able to give a paw-full of starters a light workload. Ohio State excelled from the service stripe, connecting on 10 aces while committing only nine service errors. Genn and Reese Devilbiss each blasted three aces individually.
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Set 1: Despite the Buckeyes having six accidents on five serving errors and an attacking blunder, they walked to a 25-11 opening set winner. Ohio State terminated eight of 13 swings and benefitted from 13 Mastodon errors.
Set 2: Ohio State continued to pounce in the second stanza, bursting out to 6-0 and 9-1 advantages forcing Fort Wayne to burn both timeouts in a hurry. The Buckeyes dug 15 balls as a team and rode the hot hand of Genn's five kills in another lopsided 25-11 final ledger.
Set 3: The Mastodons did not roll over and play dead in the third set, however, earning a quick 5-3 edge following intermission. Trailing 11-9, Ohio State turned it out around and neutered the Fort Wayne comeback attempt with a 16-5 run to clinch the match, 25-16. Hervoir was masterful in the final frame, bouncing all six swings for kills, posting three stuffs and ripping an ace to ensure the title of "Best in Show" for the Scarlet & Gray Thursday night.
St. John Arena opens its doors once again Saturday (March 25) evening for a 7 p.m. ET scuffle against No. 11 Ball State. Free admission. Free parking. Free fun!
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