No. 14 Ohio State to Face No. 12 Penn State, Saint Francis
Feb. 4, 2014
COLUMBUS, Ohio - The No. 14 Ohio State men's volleyball team has a busy week ahead, facing a pair of non-conference rivals. The Buckeyes will travel to No. 12 Penn State Wednesday for a 7 p.m. ET match in State College. Ohio State will then to return to St. John Arena Sunday to kick off a five-match homestand, hosting Saint Francis at 4 p.m. ET.
Admission is free Sunday and post-match clinic is scheduled for kids eighth grade and younger. Space is limited and interested participants should visit http://go.osu.edu/14MVBClinic for more details.
Wednesday, Feb. 5 - 7 p.m. ET
No. 14 Ohio State Buckeyes (4-4) at No. 12 Penn State (5-2)
Sunday, Feb. 9 - 4 p.m. Et
Ohio State vs. Saint Francis (3-3)
The Ohio State men's volleyball team had one match last week and dropped a 3-0 (15-25, 20-25, 23-25) MIVA match at No. 1 Loyola Saturday in Chicago.
The Buckeyes were led by junior Michael Henchy with 10 kills, adding two service aces and two blocks. Redshirt freshman Driss Guessous had six kills and hit .556 (6-1-9) for Ohio State, while redshirt junior Andrew Lutz chipped in five kills and two service aces. Redshirt junior Peter Heinen led the team with 20 assists and libero Danny Baker had six digs.
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 485-95 in 46 years and have totaled six undefeated seasons at home.
IN THE POLLS
Ohio State enters the weekend as the 14th-ranked team in the AVCA Division I-II Coaches Top 15 preseason poll. The team is one of four MIVA schools ranked as Loyola is No. 2, Lewis is No. 10 and Ball State stands at No. 15.
The Buckeyes have seen big numbers from a group of experienced juniors so far this season. Leading the way offensively is opposite Andrew Lutz and outside hitter Michael Henchy. The pair is averaging 3.52 and 2.76 kills per set, respectively, and is two of the team's toughest servers. Pacing the Ohio State offense is setter Peter Heinen. The Wauwatosa, Wis., product has a team-best 9.00 assists average and has started the last five matches.
A pair of middles in Dustan Neary and Shawn Herron has provided big blocks for the Buckeyes this season. Neary, a junior college transfer, has started four matches and has totaled 11 blocks early. He is also second on the squad with a .382 attack percentage. Herron, who started the first three matches for Ohio State, sat out for a couple of weeks with an injury, but returned to action at Loyola (2/1). Following a four-block performance against the Ramblers, Herron leads the team with a 1.18 blocks average and has 13 (3s, 10a) on the year.
A handful of Ohio State newcomers have seen significant playing time early this year. Redshirt freshman Driss Guessous has started all seven matches at middle blocker and has a team-best 21 blocks on the season. The Pasadena, Calif., native leads the squad with a .526 attack percentage and is third overall with 49 kills.
Freshman outside hitter Gabriel Domecus has started in seven matches and played in all eight. The Vallejo, Calif., product is second on the team with 34 digs and a 1.42 average. Classmates Miles Johnson and Christy Blough have provided the Buckeyes with depth at outside hitter and setter, respectively.
SCOUTING PENN STATE
The No. 12 Penn State Nittany Lions are coached by Mark Pavlik who is in his 20th season at the helm of the program. The Nittany Lions are 5-2 overall and 1-0 in EIVA conference play. Penn State is coming off of a solid weekend, with wins over Mount Olive and Saint Francis Friday and Saturday, respectively. The Nittany Lions swept Mount Olive in three-sets (25-14, 25-13, 25-19) and began conference play with 3-1 (25-21, 25-21, 23-25, 25-18) win over Saint Francis.
Junior middle hitter Aaron Russell leads the EIVA with 99 kills and is averaging 3.81 kills per set. Brother Peter Russell is among the league's top hitters as well, averaging 3.00 kills per set. Redshirt sophomore setter Taylor Hammond also leads their conference in assists with 283 and a 10.88 average, while redshirt junior libero Conner Curry leads in digs with 66.
The Buckeyes trail the Nittany Lions, 34-68-1, in the series that dates back to 1971. The two squads played each other at the beginning of the season in Hawai'i and Penn State came away with a 3-0 win (26-28, 20-25, 19-25).
SCOUTING SAINT FRANCIS
The Saint Francis Red Flash is coached by Mike Rumbaugh in his 16th year. SFU is 3-3 overall and 0-1 in EIVA. The Red Flash suffered a four-set loss to No. 12 Penn State Saturday (21-25, 21-25, 25-23, 25-18), but bounced back with a three-set win over Mount Olive Sunday (25-19, 25-16, 25-16).
Outside hitter Logan Patterson is tied for first in the EIVA in aces per set with 13 and leads the squad in kills with 64. Redshirt sophomore Mike Kresch averages 9.36 assists per set with a total of 206 and senior libero/outside hitter Lucas Behringer has 40 digs. Redshirt senior middle blocker Mark Kochan has a team-best 22 blocks (6s, 16a).
Ohio State is leading the series over the Flashes 26-1. Saint Francis last beat the Buckeyes in 2010, defeating Ohio State in four sets (22-30, 25-30, 30-22, 25-30) in Loretto, Pa.
BUCKEYES IN THE MIVA
In its 46th season in the league, the Ohio State men's volleyball program has an impressive 394-99 overall record in the Midwestern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association (MIVA). The Buckeyes have captured a conference-best 24 regular season titles and 14 MIVA Tournament championships. Overall, Ohio State has produced 20 MIVA player of the year awards and has garnered 172 all-MIVA selections
Under head coach Pete Hanson, Ohio State is 250-77 and has won 15 regular season titles over Hanson's 29 seasons. He has been named the conference's coach of the year 11 times and has guided the team to 10 MIVA tournament crowns.
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 585-309 overall at Ohio State in his 29 seasons and boasts a 250-77 record against MIVA opponents.
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.
The Buckeyes continue their homestand, hosting nationally-ranked Lewis in St. John Arena, Feb. 15. Admission is free for the 7 p.m. ET MIVA match.
My Gameday - Nicolas Szerszen