COLUMBUS, Ohio – Eleven different players contributed to No. 1 Ohio State's 3-0 (25-22, 25-22, 25-21) sweep over the Patriots of 11th-ranked George Mason (2-1). The Buckeyes improve to 3-0 on the young 2017 season and extend their current winning streak – dating back to Feb. 6, 2016 – to 26 straight triumphs. Ohio State has won 78 of 96 sets during the victorious run.
Named the AVCA National Player of the Week earlier in the day, Nicolas Szerszen backed up that distinction with another fine performance in the nightcap versus GMU. He combined with Miles Johnson for 30 kills, three more than the entire Patriot squad. Szerszen delivered his match-high 16 put-aways at a .522 hitting rate while Johnson dropped in 14 kills and attacked .393 to go along with three blocks (1s, 2a) and a pair of kills to pace all comers at an 18-point total.
Christy Blough averaged over 19 assists per set in guiding the offense to a .370 team hitting percentage. His five digs also ranked second on the team, trailing just behind Gabriel Domecus' half dozen digs.
Ohio State moves to 31-25 all-time against George Mason, including an 18-3 mark inside St. John Arena, and wins the 15th meeting in a row overall in the series.
Set 1: The Buckeyes launched an air strike from the pins, utilizing Johnson and Szerszen as the main weapons. The OSU duo paired for 11 kills, helping to alleviate the pain of Ohio State's eight service errors. The Buckeyes struggled to shake George Mason and build a lead greater than four points throughout the hard-fought opening set. Ohio State was ultimately able to close it out, however, 25-22 on an ace by Driss Guessous.
Set 2: Different set. Same score. Despite a dip in offensive efficiency, the Buckeyes mirrored their first-set results in the second stanza, posting another 25-22 winner. Trailing 10-8, Ohio State went on an 8-2 tear to go ahead 16-12 and never looked back. The set ended in similar fashion to the first as well, an OSU service snipe – this time off the right arm of Johnson.
Set 3: Blough assisted on 17 of Ohio State's 19 kills in the third, navigating the offensive onslaught at a .533 attacking clip. Szerszen received the largest piece of the pie, gobbling up seven kills on eight swings while Johnson terminated five. Blake Leeson and Reese Devilbiss also got in on the action, each registering three kills in the match-clinching victory. A kill from Guessous served as the final nail though, securing a 25-21 conclusion.
The Scarlet & Gray is destined for Palo Alto, Calif., this weekend for a pair of road contests at No. 10 Stanford (3-0) on Jan. 13-14. Both matches are slated for 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT starts.