In hopes to bust out of a five-match slump, the Ohio State men’s volleyball team returns home to St. John Arena to take on two Men’s Intercollegiate Volleyball Association teams this weekend.
“In order to do well, we can’t have guys underperforming, and I think that has been a main contributor to the slump we are in,” junior outside hitter Michael Henchy said. “We have guys that have played extremely well in matches, but no one has played that well for the entire time.”
The Buckeyes have been working diligently to end the skid, Henchy said, and playing together as a team is how they are going to achieve it.
“We are a team to beat when we play up to our best potential, but we need every guy on the team to perform at that level,” Henchy said.
OSU is scheduled to host Quincy (12-13, 0-9) — a private liberal arts Catholic university in Quincy, Ill. — Friday and Lindenwood (19-6, 4-5) — located in Saint Charles, Mo. — Saturday. Both matches are set to start at 7 p.m.
Even though OSU tallied a win against the Lions and Hawks in previous matchups this season, junior middle blocker Dustan Neary said every team improves over the course of the season. Because of that, the Buckeyes cannot go into these matches expecting an easy victory.
“We have already beaten them both once. This week in practice we are staying very focused and working hard. We are not taking any team lightly right now,” Neary said.
OSU beat Quincy 3-0 and Lindenwood 3-1 on the road in January.
Coach Pete Hanson said the team is ready to play these two matches at its home court, and it will be taking full advantage of the heightened energy and enthusiasm in St. John Arena.
“I don’t think we need to go outside the box to create any more strategies to beat these teams,” Hanson said. “We just have to execute better, play at a higher level with more intensity, and do the things we have been talking about all season long.”
OSU took into consideration the strengths of both teams during practice this week, and will be preparing for the matches accordingly. The team is expecting a good game against Lindenwood. Quincy however, should be an easy win for the Buckeyes, Henchy said.
“Lindenwood is very aggressive — it is going to be up to our passers to keep us consistent and to make sure we control the pace of the game. And for Quincy, I think that our team is ready for them, we have better talent, better work ethic and better effort than they do,” he said.
Henchy said although this season it has not shown much, the Buckeyes’ biggest strength is their potential.
“We have the ability to do everything at a very high level — we were just lacking the consistency this season,” he said.
“I do think that we are a better team than these guys, we had a great practice this week, and I think if we continue that trend, play like I know we can and stay focused, this weekend will be something that our alumni will be proud of,” he Henchy said.