Ohio State 3, McKendree 0
COLUMBUS, Ohio -- The No. 1 Ohio State University men's volleyball team secured a Midwestern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association regular season title for the 26th time in school history, clinching the trophy with a straight-sets win (25-17, 29-27, 25-18) over McKendree (9-17, 4-9 MIVA). The Buckeyes are now 24-2 overall and 13-0 in conference play this season. Ohio State also extended its winning streak to 28 consecutive matches versus MIVA opponents.
Ohio State's 26 MIVA regular season championships are the most in league history, five trophies clear of Ball State's 21 conference crowns.
Miles Johnson and Nicolas Szerszen combined for 35 of 45 OSU kills, attacking .508 as a duo. Johnson averaged seven kills per set, hitting .486 while Szerszen attacked .542 on his 14 kills. Both Buckeyes added multiple aces to their stat line as well. The pair of pin hitters were responsible for a total of 42 points.
Christy Blough dished out 39 assists as the Buckeyes swung .326. He was also one of five OSU players to register five or more digs, including seven each from Gabriel Domecus, Johnson and Szerszen.
Set 1: The first lead of more than one point didn't come until 9-7 as four lead changes and seven tied scores filled the first 15 points of the evening. Ohio State would maintain the upper hand for the remainder of the set, leaning heavily on five kills apiece from Johnson and Szerszen in a 25-17 triumph.
Set 2: Johnson exploded for a dozen kills in the second stanza, bouncing 12 balls with just one error on 20 attempts (.550). He stepped up when his team needed him the most, recording four kills after the set spilled past the 25-point mark. Two Johnson kills fended off McKendree set-point opportunities and the final termination was good for point number 29, sending the Buckeyes into intermission leading two-sets-to-none.
Set 3: Szerszen lifted the Scarlet & Gray to victory in the third, crushing six kills on errorless attacks to go along with five digs and two aces. The score went back-and-forth early on before a 9-4 OSU run closed out the night, 25-18.
These same two squads meet up again Saturday night in another 7 p.m. ET clash at St. John Arena.
Grand Canyon 3, Loyola 1
CHICAGO – The GCU men's volleyball program beat a nationally ranked team for the third time this season on Friday night, defeating No. 10 Loyola in four sets by scores of 27-25, 21-25, 25-21, and 27-25. With the win, Grand Canyon clinches a first round home game in the MIVA playoffs for only the second time in school history. The Lopes improve to 16-9 for the season and move their conference record to 11-4.
"We were very balanced tonight, offensively, defensively, from the service line and making the right play in the big moments," GCU head coach Matt Werle exclaimed. "There are still a couple mental lapses that we must eliminate, but we kept a constant pressure on them and kept them out of system most of the night."
GCU played consistently throughout all four sets of the match. In Set 1, Loyola and Grand Canyon battled back-and-forth until the Ramblers reached a 25-24 advantage and set point. Loyola committed a service error, Cody Williams recorded an ace, and Shalev Saada knocked down a kill to give GCU a 27-25 win.
In Set 2, Loyola jumped out to an early 15-9 lead. GCU fought back into the set, forcing Loyola into a timeout with a 20-17 advantage. Despite two kills from Williams and one from Ashton King, the Ramblers pulled away for the 25-21 set win.
Cullen Mosher led the Lopes in the third set with seven kills. Williams added six kills as the duo helped GCU to a 20-16 advantage. With the Lopes leading 23-20, Mosher knocked down two huge kills to earn the set win by a score of 25-21.
The Lopes carried the momentum into Set 4, holding a 12-7 lead. Loyola capitalized on a few GCU errors to battle all the way back and even the score at 24 all. King then recorded a kill, Loyola committed an attack error, and Saada ended the match with a final kill to give GCU the 27-24 win.
Mosher and Williams both led the Lopes during the contest with 18 kills each. King recorded eight kills and led the team with five blocks. Michael Milstein effectively ran the offense with 51 assists and Sky Engleman paced the defense with ten digs.
Grand Canyon will face Loyola again tomorrow at 5 p.m. MST. The match will be the last MIVA contest of the season for GCU.
Ball State 3, Quincy 2
MUNCIE, Ind.—The No. 12 Ball State men's volleyball team was tested by MIVA foe, Quincy, Friday night in Worthen. The Cardinals were able to rally and pull off a 3-2 victory over the Hawks.
Brendan Surane led the Cardinals with 14 kills whileMatt Walsh and Matt Szews each tallied 13. Defensively, Adam Wessel led with 16 digs. Connor Gross had 53 assists and 10 digs on the night. As a team, Ball State knocked down 62 kills, 62 digs, 17 block assists and three solo blocks. The Cardinals also had an impressive eight service aces.
The Hawks came out strong and quickly took an 8-4 lead in the opening set, forcing an early Ball State timeout. The Cardinals trailed by as much as five before evening out the score 23-23, but eventually fell in set one, 25-23. Surane led the Cardinals in set one with four kills. Mitch Weiler added three kills and one block assist.
After 13 tied scores and five lead changes, the second set went to Ball State, 25-20. The Cardinals knocked down 16 digs, 14 kills and four block assists. Weiler led the way with four kills and Walsh added three. Adam Wessel led the team in digs with six. The Cardinals were able to hold the Hawks to only six kills for a -.029 hitting percentage.
Quincy took set three with a final score of 26-24. Szews led the way with a set-high six kills. Wessel and Gross each had a team-high four digs.
The fourth set went down to the wire, but the Cardinals were able to secure the victory, 26-24 after a block assist from Parker Swartz and Surane. Szews knocked down a team-high four kills while Surane and Walsh each had three.
The Cardinals came out on fire in the final set, scoring the first five points and forcing a Quincy timeout. Ball State finished the match with a 15-12 set five victory on a Surane kill, assisted by Gross. The Cards had 10 kills for a .389 hitting percentage in the fifth set.
Ball State (16-8, 7-6 MIVA) will be in action again tomorrow as they face Lindenwood in Worthen Arena. First serve is set for 7:30 p.m.
Lindenwood 3, Fort Wayne 1
The Lindenwood men's volleyball team won its third-straight match Friday night in Fort Wayne, Ind. against the Fort Wayne Mastadons. The four-set victory completes the season sweep of the Mastadons, and is the third win in the past four matches against the team for the Lions.
After dropping the first set (25-20), the Lions won the next three by the scores of 25-19, 25-20, and 25-17. Lindenwood controlled most of the second and fourth sets, and pulled away in the third frame after being tied at nine apiece.
Blake Koppel led the team with 14 kills for the second match in a row. The senior hit .243 on the night, while also recording nine digs and two service aces.
Nathan Van Dellen hit .423 on the evening with 13 kills, and recorded his first double-double of the season with 13 digs. Ryan Vorderer also tallied 13 digs, marking the 10th time this season the junior has reached double-digits.
Sophomore Adam Brewster dished out 43 assists in the match, the fourth time this season he has totaled at least 40 dimes. The Lee's Summit, Mo. native also recorded eight digs. Brewster also had two kills.
Michael Chard added 12 kills on .304 hitting, while recording one service ace.
The win improves Lindenwood to 5-15 on the season and 4-9 in MIVA action. The fifth overall victory matches last season's mark, while the fourth conference win is the most for the program since 2015. The Lions will look to continue their winning streak tomorrow night in Muncie, Ind. when they battle Ball State at 6:30 p.m.