The men’s volleyball season is quickly winding down and Ohio State is looking to pick up as many wins as it can.
With just three regular season contests left on the schedule, the Buckeyes are set to take on No. 14 Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne Friday at St. John Arena.
The Mastodons (17-6, 6-5) are scheduled to travel from Fort Wayne, Ind., to take on the Buckeyes (10-13, 6-6) on their home court this time around. The two teams faced off earlier in the season in Indiana, and the match ended in a 3-2 loss for the Buckeyes, March 5.
“We lost a tight one in the last meeting, so we’re looking for some revenge in our gym,” junior outside hitter Michael Henchy said.
Junior middle blocker Dustan Neary said the unranked Buckeyes are expecting yet another tough matchup against the Mastadons, but focusing on their opponent’s strengths should help tip the scales in OSU’s favor.
“We expect them to be aggressive from the pins and from the end line, Neary said. “We need to key in on their go-to players and make sure we have a block in front of them.”
Henchy said IPFW features a very strong offense, and OSU needs to do everything it can to make sure the Mastadons are forced to play back on their heels and on the defensive.
“They have some really good hitters on their team that we’re looking to slow down,” Henchy said. “If we can prevent them from having a big game, then our chances of winning go up significantly. We want to serve them out of system and attack the balls they give up so they are playing more defense than offense.”
Redshirt-junior opposite Andrew Lutz said the team’s preparations have been focused on IPFW’s offense, working to adjust the Buckeyes’ defensive approach to thwart its style of play.
“We need to be good with our first contacts on defense. Once we do this, it’s going to be essential that we’re able to generate attacks to win some points,” Lutz said.
Henchy said he expects the match to be intense because each game down the stretch plays big into seeding for the MIVA conference tournament.
“I expect lots of energy from them because we are the Ohio State volleyball team and they are fighting for a better seed for the conference tournament,” Henchy said. “We will win if we play our style of game and outwork them on defense.”
The match is set to start at 7 p.m. Friday.