No. 13 Ohio State Hosts No. 14 Ball State Wednesday
Feb. 25, 2014
COLUMBUS, Ohio - The No. 13 Ohio State men's volleyball team caps a five-match homestand Wednesday, hosting long-time rival and No. 14 Ball State in St. John Arena. The MIVA foes face off for the first time this season at 7 p.m. ET and admission is free.
Wednesday's match will be streamed live on BTN.com. Please note, fans' Buckeye Vision subscription information also can be used to log on to the Big Ten Digital Network (BTDN) for Ohio State content only. Subscriptions can be purchased by clicking HERE.
Wednesday, Feb. 26 - 7 p.m. ET
No. 13 Ohio State Buckeyes (7-6, 4-2 MIVA) vs. No. 14 Ball State Cardinals (7-5, 3-2 MIVA)
GRAND CANYON RECAP
The nationally-ranked Ohio State men's volleyball team earned a pair of three-set sweeps this past weekend, hosting MIVA opponent Grand Canyon in St. John Arena. The Buckeyes opened with a 3-0 (25-18, 31-29, 25-23) win Friday night and followed with another 3-0 (25-18, 25-21, 25-20) victory Saturday.
Redshirt junior Andrew Lutz tallied 21 kills over six sets played, including a 13-kill performance Friday. He added four blocks (2s, 2a) in the team's first win of the series. Freshmen Miles Johnson and Driss Guessous each chipped in 20 kills over the weekend. Johnson totaled a career-high 11 kills Friday and Guessous finished with 11 Saturday. Freshman setter Christy Blough paced the Buckeye offense with a 12.83 assists average, while junior Michael Henchy and freshman Gabriel Domecus had 18 and 16 digs, respectively.
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 488-96 in 46 years and have totaled six undefeated seasons at home.
IN THE POLLS
Ohio State moved up a spot in the AVCA Division I-II Coaches Top 15 poll and are ranked No. 13 this week. The team is one of five MIVA schools ranked as Loyola sits atop of the poll at No. 1, Lewis is No. 12, Ball State stands at No. 14 and IPFW comes in at No. 15.
BUCKEYES IN THE MIVA
In its 46th season in the league, the Ohio State men's volleyball program has an impressive 396-100 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 252-78 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.
Lutz, who hails from North Reading, Mass., has a team-best 155 kills this season and is averaging 3.60 kills per set. That average ranks third in the MIVA and 17th in all of NCAA Division I-II. Henchy, a native of Ventura, Calif., is second on the squad with 116 kills and a 2.70 average.
In MIVA-only play, Lutz and Henchy rank eighth and 12th, respectively, in kills per set. Lutz is averaging 3.40 with 68 and Henchy has a 2.95 average with 59.
IN THE MIDDLE
A pair of middles in Driss Guessous and Dustan Neary has provided big numbers for the Buckeyes both defensively and offensively at the net. Guessous, a redshirt freshman from Pasadena, Calif., has a team-best 41 (13s, 28a) blocks on the season for .95 average that ranks fifth in the league. Neary, a junior from Ventura, Calif., is second on the team with a .63 average and has 24 (3s, 21a) blocks over 38 sets played.
The duo is also doing great things offensively for Ohio State as each are among the top five in kills on the squad. Guessous is third with 107 kills on the season and a 2.49 average. His .464 attack percentage is the best in the MIVA and ranks third nationally. To be ranked, a hitter must average 3.0 attempts per set. Neary has a 1.13 kills average and is hitting a solid .474 at the net.
Domecus has started in 12 of the team's 13 matches this season with eight at libero. He leads the squad with 79 digs and a 1.88 average. Blough has started eight matches at setter and has a team-best 276 assists with a 10.62 average. Outside hitter Johnson is fourth on the team with a 1.42 kills average and has started in eight matches. He is averaging 1.79 points per set.
SCOUTING BALL STATE
The No.14 Ball State Cardinals are 7-5 overall with a 3-2 MIVA record. The Cardinals posted a 0-2 record this past week after tough losses to nationally-ranked opponents. Ball State fell to No. 1 Loyola Thursday in four sets (25-19, 25-21, 20-25, 25-17) and followed with a three-set loss to No. 12 Lewis (25-14, 25-16, 25-18).
Sophomore outside attacker Marcin Niemczewski is second best in the MIVA with a kills average of 3.63 per set and senior setter Graham McIlvaine has a 9.49 assists average. Senior middle attacker Matt Leske ranks eighth nationally with a 1.27 blocks-per-set average and has 56 (8s, 48a) on the season.
The Buckeyes lead the all-time series with a 91-79 record over the Cardinals with play dating back to 1968. In the team's last meeting, Ohio State suffered a three-set loss (25-15, 25-21, 25-21) in Muncie. The Buckeyes, however, have won 13 of the last 15 matches played.
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 588-311 overall at Ohio State in his 29 seasons and boasts a 252-78 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 Buckeyes take a week off of competition before traveling to MIVA rival and nationally-ranked IPFW, March 5, for a 7 p.m. ET match. Ohio State returns to St. John Arena two days later and hosts non-conference rival and nationally-ranked Penn State. The Buckeyes and the Nittany Lions face off at 7 p.m. ET, March 7, and admission is free.
My Gameday - Nicolas Szerszen