Ohio State 3, Penn State 0
COLUMBUS, Ohio - The No. 3 Ohio State University men's volleyball team (5-2) made it a short Sunday stint on the court, storming past eighth-ranked Penn State (3-2) by controlling scores of 25-19, 25-15, 25-17. The +24 point differential moved the Buckeyes to 5-2 on the season.
Ohio State trailed for just two rallies the entire afternoon. Kills by Nicolas Szerszen immediately wiped out both of those deficits at 13-12 and 14-13 in the second set, tying the score up at 13- and 14-all.
Ohio State attacked the Nittany Lions from all angles with a .480 team hitting percentage and three or more kills coming from five different sources, including a match-high 16 kills for Jake Hanes. Outside hitter Maxime Hervoir and Szerszen combined for 19 kills while Nick Laffin and Blake Leeson supplied eight more kills from the middle.
On the defensive side, Ohio State out-dug the opposition 26-19; due in large part to Szerszen's 10 digs alone. In the front court, Leeson posted two solo swats and paired with Hanes for two block assists. Hanes and Laffin got together for a rejection as well.
SET 1: The tone was set right away as Ohio State ended each of the first three points via the kill. Penn State would claw back into it at 7-7, but two rallies later the Buckeyes rattled off four straight points and never looked back in the 25-19 winner. Sanil Thomas accumulated a dozen assists in guiding OSU to a .500 team attacking efficiency. Leeson did his part in a big way, terminating four of five sets sent his direction.
SET 2: As mentioned above, the Nittany Lions mustered a 14-13 edge midway through the second stanza. It was all Buckeyes from there, however, going on a 12-1 run to race past PSU 25-15.
SET 3: Ohio State kept the pressure on in the subsequent set, attacking .520 with 14 kills. The overpowering Buckeyes doubled up Penn State 16-8 and kept the cushion no less than six points for the rest of the match. Pennsylvania native, Reese Devilibiss, drilled home the final nail with a kill for point No. 25 of the set (25-17).
A road trip awaits the Buckeyes next weekend, trekking to the University of Charleston (W.Va.) for a Friday (Sept. 2) night match before taking on George Mason on Saturday (Sept. 3). Both contests are set for 7 p.m. ET starts.
George Mason 3, Ball State 1
FAIRFAX, Va. – The 14th ranked Ball State men's volleyball team lost its second match in a row to George Mason Sunday evening. The Cardinals fell, 3-1, in their second match of the Uvaldo Acosta Invitational.
Ball State finished the four sets with 46 team kills, 32 digs, 17 total blocks and two service aces. Blake Reardon, Mitch Weiler and Matt Szews were the three Cardinals to tally double digit kills in the loss. Szews led the way with 13 while Weiler and Reardon each knocked down 12. Weiler's 12 kills came with a .455 hitting percentage. Courtland Scharenborg had 39 of Ball State's 44 assists. Defensively, Adam Wessel led the team with 11 digs. Szews and Matt Walsh were the only Cardinals to post solo blocks. Walsh also had three block assists as did Reardon and Parker Swartz. Weiler and Scharenborg each added two block assists.
The Cardinals started off the match with a set one victory, 25-23. Weiler led the way for Ball State with four kills, two digs, one assist and one block assist. The Cardinals were able to hold the Patriots to only a .088 hitting percentage in the opening set.
The Patriots came out to score the first two points of set two and led by as much as six in the set before eventually winning, 25-20. The Cardinals were able to hit 14 kills for .400. Reardon led the way in kills with 5 with Szews adding 4. Walsh was able to add a service ace and one kill in the set two loss.
In set number three, Ball State was only able to post a .111 attack percentage with 10 kills. Reardon led the team once again with three kills along with one assist. The Matts added two kills apiece in the third set. In a set that saw six tied scores and four lead changes, George Mason was able to come out on top, 25-19.
The Cardinals battled hard in set four trying to force a deciding set, with set four seeing nine tied scores and four lead changes. Ball State was unable to get the job done falling in the fourth set, 25-22, and therefore losing the match, 3-1. Szews had a set-high five kills with one dig and one solo block. Weiler had four kills and Reardon had three in the final set. Reardon led the way for the team with four of the team's 10 digs.
The Cardinals still lead the all-time series against George Mason, 43-28. However, this was the first time Ball State has fallen to the Patriots since the 2015 season. That lost was a 3-0 sweep in Muncie.
The 2018 Ball State men's volleyball team now falls to 4-4 on the season. The Cardinals will have a tough week ahead as they prepare for their trip to Penn State and Saint Francis.