COLUMBUS, Ohio - Rubber meets the road this week as the No. 5 Ohio State men's volleyball team (5-2) travels for a pair of road matches. First up is a Friday night fight at the University of Charleston (3-0) followed by Saturday evening's tilt at George Mason University (3-5). Both bouts are slated for 7 p.m. ET starts.
MATCH COVERAGE LINKS
Friday (Feb. 2) | 7 p.m.
Ohio State at Charleston
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HANES' PERFORMANCE EARNS RECOGNITION
Redshirt freshman Jake Hanes was named both the MIVA Offensive Player of the Week and VolleyMob.com National Player of the Week on Jan. 30 after scorching Saint Francis (Jan. 25) and Penn State (Jan. 28) for 6.42 points per set while attacking .452 for the week.
HISTORY WITH THE GOLDEN EAGLES AND PATRIOTS
While the Buckeyes have competed against Charleston during each of the past few Fall semesters, Friday's match will be the first official regular season match-up between the two schools in men's volleyball. Ohio State's history with George Mason has spanned over 30 years, however, starting back in 1981 with a 15-2, 15-2 Buckeye victory. In total, Ohio State owns a 31-25 advantage in the all-time series including the last 15 straight with the last loss coming nearly a decade ago in 2009.
PUTTING UP NUMBERS
Entering the week, three Buckeyes could be found in the Top-10 nationally for statistical categories. Nicolas Szerszen is slotted third and fourth, respectively, with his 3.88 kills and 4.44 points per set averages while Jake Hanes is on his heels at 3.85 kill/set (5th) and 4.43 points/set (6th). Sanil Thomas is averaged 10.59 assists/set, good for the fourth-best rate in the country.
NEW WAVE OF HEAVY CONTRIBUTORS
Four All-Americans in Christy Blough, Gabriel Domecus, Driss Guessous and Miles Johnson all graduated after the 2017 NCAA Championship run, leaving behind some opportunities in the starting lineup.
Sanil Thomas has assumed the full-time setter role and is dishing out 10.59 assists per set this season. Aaron Samarin now dons the libero jersey, responsible for 1.37 digs per set. Nick Laffin has started the first seven contests in the middle, attacking .333 on 16 kills while recording nine blocks.
Replacing Miles Johnson at opposite has been a group effort through the first four weeks of the season. Jake Hanes, Martin Lallemand and Reese Devilbiss have all started at least one match with Hanes stepping up big last week against Saint Francis and Penn State.
HOME IS WHERE THE WINS ARE
St. John Arena has treated Ohio State men's volleyball well during the last 50-plus seasons, serving as the stage for a 548-104 (.840) all-time home record.