No. 15 Ohio State Hosts Lees-McRae, George Mason
Jan. 15, 2014
COLUMBUS, Ohio - The Ohio State men's volleyball kicks off its home schedule this weekend, hosting Lees-McRae and George Mason in St. John Arena. The Buckeyes and the Bobcats face off Friday at 7 p.m. ET, while the Patriots come to Columbus Saturday for a 7 p.m. ET match. Admission is free for both matches.
Friday, January 17 - 7 p.m. ET
No. 15 Ohio State (0-3) vs. Lees-McRae (0-0)
Saturday, January 18 - 7 p.m. ET
No. 15 Ohio State vs. George Mason (0-0)
OUTRIGGER INVITATIONAL RECAP
The No. 15 Ohio State men's volleyball team opened the 2014 season at the 20th Outrigger Hotels and Resorts Invitational in Honolulu, Hawai'i, Jan. 9-11. The three-day tournament included Ohio State and three other nationally-ranked teams in Penn State, UCLA and host Hawai'i.
The Buckeyes kicked off the invitational Thursday with a three-set loss to then-No. 14 Hawai'i and followed with back-to-back 0-3 losses to then-No. 7 UCLA and then-No. 11 Penn State Friday and Saturday, respectively.
Redshirt junior Andrew Lutz led the team with 23 kills and added seven blocks (1s, 6a). Junior Michael Henchy chipped in 18 kills, 13 digs and nine blocks (4s, 5a), while redshirt freshman Driss Guessous totaled 19 kills and eight blocks (3s, 5a). Freshman Christy Blough had 61 assists and classmate Gabriel Domecus had 13 digs. Guessous was named to the all-tournament team for his efforts.
IN THE POLL
Ohio State enters the weekend as the 15th-ranked team in the AVCA Division I-II Coaches Top 15 preseason poll. The team is one of four MIVA schools ranked as Loyola ranks No. 2, Lewis is No. 9 and IPFW stands at No. 14.
ST. JOHN ARENA
Historic St. John Arena has been home to the Ohio State men's volleyball team since the program started in 1968. The Buckeyes have amassed a record of 483-95 in 46 years and have totaled six undefeated seasons at home.
2014 OHIO STATE BUCKEYES
The Scarlet and Gray are led by a quartet of juniors in Michael Henchy, Andrew Lutz, Peter Heinen and Shawn Herron. Henchy and Heinen have been consistent contributors since their freshmen campaigns, while Lutz secured a starting role last season. Herron gained valuable experience his redshirt freshman year and is a big blocker for the Buckeyes. Adding depth and experience are the team's three seniors in Danny Baker, Michael Piechowski and Jonathan Newton.
A handful of Ohio State newcomers have seen significant playing time early this year. Redshirt freshman Driss Guessous was named to the Outrigger Invitational all-tournament team and the middle blocker finished the weekend with a solid .630 attack percentage. Freshman setter Christy Blough leads the team with an 8.71 assists average and classmate outside hitter Gabriel Domecus has a team-best 1.44 digs average. Freshman Miles Johnson started two matches for the Buckeyes at outside hitter and redshirt freshman Alex Judkins saw playing time vs. UCLA.
The Lees-McRae Bobcats are coached by Dave Schmidlin in his first season with the program. The Bobcats, who open their season against the Buckeyes, concluded 2013 with an 18-13 overall mark and finished with a 10-6 record in Conference Carolinas. Lees-McRae was picked to finish fifth in their conference this year.
Returning to the squad for his senior season is John Lucas, who finished second on the team in 2013 with a 2.04 kills per set average along with 146 digs. Setter Randy Ramirez led the Bobcats in assists with 916 and teammate Matt Harpenau returned to team the team after totaling 85 blocks (8s, 77a) last year.
The Buckeyes lead the series over the Bobcats with a 2-0 record. The two squads faced each other last season with Ohio State coming away with the 3-1 win in St. John Arena.
SCOUTING GEORGE MASON
The George Mason Patriots are coached by Fred Chao in this 16th season with program. The Patriots were 15-12 overall in 2013 and finished with an 11-3 mark in the Eastern Intercollegiate Volleyball Associate (EIVA). The Patriots were chosen to finish fourth in the EIVA this year.
The Patriots graduated a total of eight seniors from the 2013 roster. Returning experienced players include seniors Dave Lucas and Jonathan Lutz. Lucas played in 27 matches for the Patriots last year, while Lutz played in nine and totaled 28 kills.
The Patriots have a slight lead over the Buckeyes with a 25-24 series record. Ohio State has won the last eight matches with George Mason's last win coming in 2009.
Buckeyes Michael Henchy and Driss Guessous earned the opportunity to don the Red, White and Blue this summer, representing the United States at the FIVB Men's U-21 World Championship held Aug. 22-Sept. 1 in Ankara and Izmir, Turkey.
The pair was selected from a field of 22 in late June to the final 12-player roster. A familiar face was at the helm of the program in Ohio State's own head coach Pete Hanson and Buckeye assistant Sean Byron also served the same capacity for Team USA.
Team USA struggled a bit throughout the tournament and finished the 20-team championship in 11th overall. Despite leaving Turkey without a medal, Team USA did leave on a high note with a three-set win over rival Canada.
MIVA PRESEASON POLL
The Ohio State men's volleyball was chosen to finish third in the Midwestern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association by a vote of the league coaches. The Buckeyes return three starters from last year's squad that finished tied for third in the league with a 9-5 record.
The 2012 MIVA Tournament champion and regular season co-champion Loyola was voted as the conference favorite with 62 points and seven first place votes. Lewis was picked to finish second with 57 points and one first place vote. Ohio State came in third with 47 points.
Junior outside hitter Michael Henchy was selected to the MIVA Preseason All-Conference team. The Ventura, Calif., product started in 25 matches for the Buckeyes last season and finished second on the squad with 301 kills and a 3.34 kills average. He was selected to the 2013 MIVA All-Conference first team and also earned preseason honors last year.
The 2013 Buckeyes finished the season with a 19-8 mark and concluded MIVA play tied for third in the league at 9-5. Ohio State hosted the first round of the MIVA Tournament and fell in five sets to Grand Canyon. The squad came in ranked No. 15 in the final AVCA poll.
Four student-athletes earned All-MIVA honors at the end of the season. Junior Michael Henchy and former Buckeye Brennan Anderson were placed on the first team, while junior Andrew Lutz and former Buckeye John Tholen were honored on the second team.
Ohio State said goodbye to seven seniors last year, including experienced middle blockers Tholen and Grayson Overman.
HEAD COACH Pete Hanson
The Buckeyes are led by head coach Pete Hanson, who is in his 30th year with the program. He has guided the Buckeyes to 15 MIVA regular season titles, including the six straight from 2007-2012. Under his direction, Ohio State captured its first NCAA Division I-II title in 2011 as the squad defeated UC Santa Barbara in five sets.
The Buckeyes have totaled 18 20-win seasons with Hanson and have reached the NCAA Championships 10 times. Hanson is 581-305 overall at Ohio State in his 29 seasons and boasts a 248-76 record against MIVA opponents.
Ohio State opens its MIVA schedule on the road at Quincy and Lindenwood. The Buckeyes and the Hawks face off at 8 p.m. ET in Quincy, Ill., Jan. 24. Ohio State then travels to St. Charles, Mo., for another 8 p.m. ET match, Jan. 25, against Lindenwood.