COLUMBUS, Ohio - The top-ranked Ohio State University men's volleyball team improved to 7-0 on the season and registered their 30th consecutive win overall by topping the No. 14 Nittany Lions of Penn State (3-4) in straight sets (25-16, 25-22, 25-16). The Buckeyes have also strung together 17 set wins in a row spanning the last six matches.
• Ohio State is riding a 30-match winning streak
• The Buckeyes last suffered an NCAA loss on February 6, 2016
• Ohio State has won 90 of 108 sets (83%) during the victorious stretch
• The streak includes five wins over Top-5 opponents and nearly half (14) against teams ranked inside the Top-12 nationally
• Also included in the run are 14 straight wins in true road games
Nicolas Szerszen blasted 17 kills at a .630 attacking rate while Miles Johnson added in 13 kills and five service aces. Gabriel Domecus and Blake Leeson led the defensive effort, recording 11 digs and six blocks, respectively. Leeson has thrown up 14 rejections in the last six sets played while Domecus is responsible for 23 digs during the same timeframe.
A dozen different Buckeyes saw action in the contest, including true freshman Dejon Clark (a Pickerington native) making his collegiate debut and delivering a solid serve. Over 95 percent of Ohio State's 45 team kills were assisted (43 of 45), including a 36-assist showing from the primary OSU setter Christy Blough. The Buckeye grit frustrated Penn State as well, digging up a total of 33 balls to aid in the smoldering of a Nittany Lion offense which attacked just .188 (28-13-80).
Set 1: The opening frame was split evenly through the first 28 rallies, 14-all. Two points later Ohio State led 16-14 and the Nittany Lions called the first timeout of the evening. Timeout number two came quickly thereafter at 19-14 when Johnson terminated three in a row, sandwiching an ace in between a pair of kills. The break in action did little to derail Ohio State's surge supported by an electric serving performance for Johnson. The Buckeyes would go on to string together nine straight with three Johnson aces to wrangle a 23-14 upper hand. Ultimately, Ohio State broke up the 14-14 stalemate by seizing 11 of the next 13 points and securing a 25-16 winner.
Set 2: Momentum quickly vanished to start the second set as Penn State raced out to an 8-2 edge. The dynamic duo of Johnson and Szerszen insured the large deficit was short-lived though, each connecting for a half dozen kills in the set and carrying OSU back to all-square initially at 13-13 and on seven more occasions by set's end. The final deadlock came at 22-22 after a Johnson kill ignited four straight points to close out the set, 25-22, in favor of the Scarlet & Gray.
Set 3: Ohio State left little doubt in the third, building a 15-7 advantage midway through the frame. The Nittany Lions clawed back to within five at 20-15 and forced a Buckeye timeout, but couldn't muster a complete comeback in falling to Ohio State 25-16.
Ohio State faces both Barton College and No. 4 Long Beach State this weekend, hosting the pair of non-conference tilts inside St. John Arena at 7 p.m. ET on Friday (Jan. 27) and Saturday (Jan. 28), respectively.