Ohio State 3, Lewis 2
ROMEOVILLE, Ill. – Head coach Pete Hanson's 1,000th career match extended into a 16-14 fifth set as the Scarlet & Gray battled back from an 11-8 deficit to escape Illinois with victory in hand (25-22, 25-23, 23-25, 14-25, 16-14). No. 2 Ohio State (21-1) maintains its stronghold of the top spot in the MIVA standings at 10-0 while handing second-place and seventh-ranked Lewis its third conference loss (17-6, 10-3 MIVA). The Buckeyes are in pursuit of their league-best 26th regular season championship.
Hanson picked up his 666th triumph (666-334; .666). The four-time National Coach of the Year upped his MIVA career mark to 290-90 (.763) as well.
• Ohio State has recorded 20 straight wins in true road matches (last loss in an opponent's home gym came in 2015)
• The Buckeyes are also riding a 25-match winning streak versus MIVA opponents
The reigning National Player of the Year, Nicolas Szerszen, delivered 18 kills and a total of 20.5 points. He was one of two Buckeyes to record a double-double, adding 11 digs to his kills sum. Fellow pin hitter Miles Johnson posted 13 kills and 10 digs. Maxime Hervoir found some success from the outside as well, bouncing a dozen kills.
Set 1: Ohio State swung an even .400 (12-2-25) in the opening frame, receiving multiple kills from four different players in an evenly-distributed attack set up by Christy Blough. The Buckeyes also stuffed Lewis three times, limiting the Flyers to a .238 offensive clip. A 13-13 ledger represented the 10th tied score of the set right before an 8-3 OSU run pushed the Buckeyes ahead for good in an eventual 25-22 winner.
Set 2: Lewis made a valiant comeback effort in the second, storming back from down 21-15 to pull even at 22-all. Ohio State halted the rally, however, grabbing three of the next four points to secure a 25-23 triumph entering intermission.
Set 3: Set number three mirrored the second, seeing a 22-22 tie ultimately converted into a 25-23 final score. And like a mirror, the result was flipped and the Flyers remained alive as set victors.
Set 4: The flood gates would open up midway through the fourth. Lewis burst through a 7-7 stalemate by rattling off 13 of the subsequent 15 points, building a commanding 20-9 edge. A fifth set was needed after the Flyers capped off the 25-14 equalizer.
Set 5: Trailing 11-8 in the deciding set, Hanson called a timeout to regroup. Three consecutive Buckeye kills would follow, sitting all-square at 11-11. The score was even again at 12-12, 13-13 and 14-14 before back-to-back attacking blunders committed by the Flyers gave Ohio State a thrilling triumph.
St. John Arena is the place to be next week, site of two home conference matches. Ohio State welcomes in Fort Wayne Thursday (March 23) and Ball State on Saturday (March 25).
Grand Canyon 3, Fort Wayne 2
PHOENIX - Despite career-highs from Nick Smalter and Michael Keegan, the Fort Wayne men's volleyball team fell to Grand Canyon in five sets (18-25, 25-22, 30-28, 21-25, 19-17) in Antelope Gymnasium on Saturday night (March 18).
The Mastodons came out hot, hitting .545 (14-2-22) in the first set behind five and four kills from Smalter and Colton Stone respectively. The 'Dons took three straight to start the set, and extended the lead to as many as six by the 22-16 mark. Service aces from Smalter and Gabriel Quinones helped lead the charge. Smalter had the last Fort Wayne kill in the first set. Graydon Schroeder and Smalter blocked three balls each in the first set. Stone finished the set with a perfect hitting percentage (4-0-4).
The second set favored the Lopes early, as they opened a 10-6 lead to start. Fort Wayne answered by rattling off a 5-2 run to go within one on two service aces from Austin Neace. GCU finished the set on a 5-2 run to even the score at one set each.
In the third, the Lopes jumped out to a 7-0 lead to start the set, but the 'Dons went on a 9-2 run to get within two. Fort Wayne took its first lead of the third set at the 19-18 mark after an ace from Smalter. The score went back and forth, and the 'Dons had two set point opportunities, but GCU took its fourth set point chance.
Smalter continued his hot hitting in the fourth, having five kills in the first 11 Mastodon points. A solo block by Keegan gave the 'Dons a 14-13 lead, their first since 5-4. Stone also caught fire in the fourth, having six of his 19 kills. After an 18-all tie, the 'Dons went on a 7-3 run to finish the set. Fort Wayne hit .500 (19-3-32) to force a fifth set.
The final set of the night was back and forth, as neither team led by more than two points. Keegan, Stone and Kyle Fitzgerald each had a service ace. Three kills from Smalter held the Lopes from match points at 14-13, 15-14, and 16-15, but GCU took the last two points of the evening.
Smalter finished with a career-high 29 kills with 6 errors for a .451 percentage. Smalter's 29 is the highest single-match kill total of the season for the Mastodons. Stone also had 19 kills on 40 attempts for a .300 percentage. Jack Carlson, Keegan and Neace led the 'Dons in digs with nine each, while Smalter and Stone had eight and seven each. Schroeder finished a season-high six blocks, while Keegan and Smalter blocked four balls each. Keegan finished with a career-high 64 assists.
The Mastodons fall to 5-17, 2-8 MIVA while the Lopes improve to 14-8, 10-4 MIVA. The 'Dons are back in action on Thursday (March 23) when they visit No. 2 Ohio State in Columbus, Ohio.
King 3, Quincy 0
QUINCY, Ill. – The Quincy University men's volleyball team ran into a tough opponent on Saturday (March 18) afternoon, falling in straight sets to host King, 25-19, 25-15, 25-20, in Bristol, Tenn.
The Tornado (21-2) hit .325 as a team while holding the Hawks (5-15) to a .100 mark.
Senior Jarrod Kelso (Hilliard, Ohio/Hilliard Darby)led the Hawks with 11 kills (.217) while sophomore David Siebum (St. Louis, Mo./Vianney)added seven kills (.091) and junior Anthony Winter (Olmsted Falls, Ohio/St. Edward)chipped in six (.235).
Sophomore Adam Rogan (St. Charles, Mo./Francis Howell North) led team with 18 assists and Winter and sophomore Collin Merk (Chicago, Ill./Loyola Academy) had five digs apiece.
Kiel Bell and Jeff Sprayberry had 10 kills each to lead King, which won its 11th straight match.
The Hawks will return to the court on Thursday (March 23) when they take on Culver-Stockton at 7 p.m. in Canton, Mo.