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Ohio State men’s volleyball clinches conference title with pair of wins

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Junior outside hitter Gabriel Domecus (7) during a match against Ball State on Feb. 6 at St. John Arena. OSU lost 3-2. Credit: Courtesy of OSU

Junior outside hitter Gabriel Domecus (7) during a match against Ball State on Feb. 6 at St. John Arena. OSU lost 3-2.
Credit: Courtesy of OSU

The No. 2 Ohio State men’s volleyball team (25-3, 14-1) took care of business over the weekend, defeating Lindenwood University (5-17, 3-13) and Quincy University (18-22, 4-12) to close out regular-season play and clinch the Midwest Intercollegiate Volleyball Association title.

The Buckeyes, who have now won 17 consecutive matches, defeated both of their opponents in straight sets. With the win Saturday, the Buckeyes sealed their first conference title since 2012.

“It’s very nice, you want to finish as strong as you can,” said OSU coach Pete Hanson. “These were important matches in terms of getting as good of position as we can going into the playoffs.”

OSU started the weekend off defending its home floor against the Lindenwood Lions. The first set started off with a fast-paced, back-and-forth series of plays. The lead changed hands multiple times until the Scarlet and Gray grabbed control, extending their lead and finally taking the set 25-19.

Another see-saw battle took place in the second set, with the Lions holding control until mid-match, when the Buckeyes fought their way back to seize the lead. The teams jockeyed for control, which was eventually maintained by OSU, as the Buckeyes held on to win the second frame 25-22.

The Lions took control of the third set early, maintaining the lead for the majority of the time. But the Buckeyes made a move late, scoring a flurry of points to take control and give themselves a slim lead which they would hold for the remainder of the set, winning it 25-23.

OSU held a 34.5 percent attack while the Lions were held to only a 16.5 percent rate on the night. Individually, sophomore outside hitter Nicolas Szerszen led the Buckeyes with 16 kills while junior outside hitter Miles Johnson added 12.

“Closing out the season with two W’s (and) to get the conference championship is awesome,” said redshirt junior middle blocker Driss Guessous. “I think it puts us in a really good spot for the upcoming weekend.”

Sunday’s match featured the Buckeyes hosting the Quincy Hawks. The first set was thoroughly controlled by the Scarlet and Gray, who took control early and didn’t let up, cruising to victory by a score of 25-18.

The second set was a tug of war with both teams fighting for the lead. Control changed hands multiple times throughout the set, but it ended up with the Buckeyes taking it 26-24.

In the final set, the Scarlet and Gray took the early lead and wouldn’t relinquish it, holding on all the way to the end and completing the three-set sweep by a score of 25-21.

OSU managed to hold a 30.3 percent attack on the night, while holding the Hawks to a 28.6 clip. Johnson led the way for the Buckeyes with 12 kills while Szerszen added 10. Meanwhile, Szerszen and senior outside hitter Christian Franceschi both had three service aces on the night.

Franceschi said the Buckeyes are more than happy to end the season on a high note, but they know that a long road waits ahead for them.

“It’s good, it has been a long journey going through this stuff,” the senior said. “It was fun the entire time, and now it starts where we have to go out there and do what we know how to do.”

Next time the Buckeyes are scheduled to take the floor, they will be hosting the MIVA tournament at St. John Arena. The Scarlet and Gray are slated to take on the Mastodons of Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne on April 17 at 7 p.m.

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