COLUMBUS, Ohio - The No. 1 Ohio State University men's volleyball team (25-2, 14-0 MIVA) clinched the outright 2017 Midwestern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association regular season championship Saturday night with a straight-sets victory (25-18, 26-24, 25-15) over McKendree (9-18, 4-10 MIVA). It marks the 26th conference crown in school history and the Buckeyes 29th straight win over MIVA opponents dating back to last season.
A solid passing effort paired with superb setting from Christy Blough led to Ohio State attacking .437 on a total of 42 kills. Miles Johnson and Nicolas Szerszen launched the outer onslaught while Matt Dorn and Driss Guessous inflicted mass damage from the middle. Johnson wreaked the most havoc, knocking down 16 kills at a .423 attacking rate. Szerszen piled on 11 kills and also hit north of .400 while the combination of Dorn and Guessous terminated 11 kills on just 15 swings.
The Buckeyes received additional point production from the service stripe in the form of eight aces, three coming from the right arms of both Johnson and Szerszen.
Senior Night festivities began pre-match with individual recognitions and gifts for each member of the class and continued throughout the contest as all seven seniors saw action.
Set 1: Johnson carried the load in set number one, putting away seven of nine attempts. In total, Ohio State attacked .500 with 13 kills. The Buckeyes methodically added to their cushion as the set progressed, ultimately washing out as 25-18 victors.
Set 2: The second stanza spilled over into extra points for the second straight night. And once again Ohio State was able to grab the two-point edge needed to take the set, 26-24, and head to intermission up two-sets-to-none. Back-to-back kills from Johnson at 20-20 proved pivotal in righting the ship and steering the Buckeyes towards the ultimate triumph.
Set 3: Locked up a half dozen apiece, the Buckeyes put together a 10-3 run to force a McKendree timeout at 16-9. Head coach Pete Hanson then opened up the floodgates and subbed out the majority of the seniors one-by-one to receive a round of applause from the Buckeye faithful in attendance. Ohio State continued to pile it on en route to a 25-15 clincher.
The Buckeyes wrap up the regular season slate next weekend (April 7-8) at Lindenwood and Quincy.