SAINT CHARLES, Mo. – The No. 9 Ohio State University men's volleyball team (17-4, 8-2 MIVA) thwarted a Lindenwood match point opportunity at 26-25 in the fourth set, seizing four of the next five rallies to extend the contest into a fifth set as 29-27 victors. The Buckeyes then finished off the home team, 15-11, to remain within a game of MIVA-leading Loyola (9-1) in the conference standings and race for a regular season title.
The match took over two hours with nearly 230 points being contested during a five-set affair (25-22, 24-26, 24-26, 29-27, 15-11). Ohio State improves to 12-0 all-time against the Lions. Lindenwood falls to 8-12 overall in 2018, including 2-8 in MIVA action.
Nicolas Szerszen was responsible for 28 points; accumulating 17 kills, six aces and eight blocks (2s, 6a). He added 10 digs to come up just two blocks shy of a triple-double. Szerszen terminated at a .333 attacking rate (17-5-36). His fellow pin hitters weren't quite as efficient, but did combine for 25 more kills. Blake Leeson delivered when called upon offensively with nine kills on 14 attempts and a lone error (.571) while sending back nine Lindenwood attack attempts for blocks. Ohio State rejected the Lions 18 times in total.
SET 1: Jakes Hanes lifted the Scarlet & Gray in Set 1, finding the hardwood on five of six swings in leading Ohio State to a .429 team hitting percentage. Lindenwood nearly kept pace with a .333 offensive efficiency, but ultimately never led after a 1-0 edge handed over by a Buckeye service error to start the afternoon's competition. Hanes' fifth kill served as the finalizer, finishing a 25-22 winner.
SET 2-3: Team hitting efficiencies in the .160s paired with 15 total service errors in Sets 2-3 doomed Ohio State. The Buckeyes came close, but couldn't overcome the deficiencies in back-to-back 26-24 defeats sending the Lions to intermission with a two-sets-to-one lead.
SET 4: Serving woes lingered in the fourth frame (seven errors). Ohio State compensated with seven stuffs though, pushing Lindenwood into the red numbers offensively (minus-.026 attack percentage). The set spilled past 25 points once again when the Lions came out of their timeout to even the score at 24-24. Ohio State would benefit from a timeout of their own moments later, followed by consecutive Szerszen put-aways to go ahead 27-26. Another OSU service gaffe stunted the Buckeye momentum at 27-27. The next two points went to Ohio State, however, sending the contest into a fifth and final set.
SET 5: Service was a positive in the fifth, materializing as three aces. The first by Sanil Thomas to open the set and two more coming by way of Szerszen on back-to-back points late in the frame. Ohio State led from start to finish and escaped 15-11.
The Buckeyes play their final regular season home matches next week, hosting No. 6 Loyola and No. 10 Lewis on Thursday and Saturday evenings, respectively.