The Ohio State men’s volleyball team is set to start the 2014 season in a location where the climate is quite the contrary to what Ohio has been facing lately.
The Buckeyes are scheduled to travel to Honolulu for the fifth straight year to take part in the Outrigger Hotels and Resorts Invitational.
In what marks the 20th anniversary for the tournament, No. 12 OSU is slated to take on top teams in No. 14 Hawaii, No. 7 UCLA and No. 11 Penn State.
“The Outrigger Volleyball Invitational is one of the oldest non-conference tournaments in college men’s volleyball. It traditionally includes Hawaii and a team from the (Mountain Pacific Sports Federation), Midwestern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association) and (Eastern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association) in its four-team field,” said Nancy Daniels, the director of public relations for Outrigger Hotel and Resorts.
The Buckeyes have made five appearances, Penn State has made 19 appearances with two titles, UCLA has made 13 appearances with a record eight titles and Hawaii has played in all 20 tournaments, winning six times, Daniels said.
OSU is set to kick off play Thursday facing the host of the tournament, Hawaii. Hawaii leads the overall series with OSU, 3-1. The Buckeyes picked up their first win over the Rainbow Warriors last year, beating Hawaii in five sets during the first round of the 2013 Outrigger Hotels and Resorts Invitational. Friday, OSU is set to take on UCLA at 9 p.m. The Buckeyes are set to finish the invitational Saturday against Penn State at 9 p.m.
The Buckeyes are coming off a 2013 season in which they finished 19-8 overall and 9-5 in MIVA conference play, good for third.
OSU hosted the first round of the MIVA Tournament, falling in five sets to Grand Canyon. To end the 2013 season, OSU lost seven seniors, including experienced middle blockers John Tholen and Grayson Overman.
In coach Pete Hanson’s 28th season at the helm, the Buckeyes are led by a pair of experienced redshirt juniors in setter Peter Heinen, opposite Andrew Lutz, junior outside hitter Michael Henchy and redshirt-junior middle blocker Shawn Herron.
Upon returning from Hawaii, the Buckeyes are scheduled to take on Lees-McRae in Columbus, Jan. 17 at 7 p.m.