After four matches on the road, the Ohio State men’s volleyball team is set to return to its home court and kick off a five-match homestead at St. John Arena.
The No. 14 Buckeyes (4-5, 2-1) are scheduled to take on Saint Francis (3-3, 0-1) Sunday at 4 p.m. in the first game of the home slate.
After dropping two consecutive matches against then-No. 1 Loyola, 3-0, and No. 12 Penn State, 3-1, on the road, the Buckeyes are looking forward to returning home.
“The crowd is always in our favor, and is never a distraction while at home,” freshman setter Christy Blough said.
Junior outside hitter Michael Henchy said the home stretch will allow the team to channel its focus solely on the game.
“It gives us an added comfort level and definitely adds an adrenaline boost when we play in front of our own fans. It’s a good thing we have a home stretch coming up because it will allow us to focus more on volleyball and less on the conditions we are playing in,” Henchy said.
Blough said the Buckeyes are hoping to correct mistakes made against Penn State and perform with more consistency against the Red Flash.
“We will be working on our serve receive and being able to play at a constant, high level for longer periods,” Blough said.
The Buckeyes, however, were not lacking when it came to hitting and blocking, with five players reaching career-highs in the match against Penn State.
Redshirt-junior opposite Andrew Lutz tied a career-best with 20 kills and added three block assists.
Blough tallied 45 assists for the Buckeyes, with two younger players finishing with career-high kill totals in redshirt-freshman middle blocker Driss Guessous (12) and freshman outside hitter Miles Johnson (nine). Freshman outside hitter Gabriel Domecus also added 12 digs.
Junior middle blocker Dustan Neary said although the loss against Penn State was disappointing, it had some bright spots.
“Although the end result of the match was a loss, there were a lot of things we did well,” Neary said. “Our numbers in passing and kill percentage went way up and we really did a good job staying on task with our game plan, and we will use those things for our advantage in our match this weekend.”