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Men’s volleyball: Ohio State sweeps Stanford in weekend series

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The Ohio State University #1 men’s volleyball team defeat UCLA in 3 sets to 1. St. John Arena, January 7, 2017.
(Photo by Walt Middleton Photography 2016)

The No. 1 Ohio State men’s volleyball team continued its impressive winning streak on Friday and Saturday night, extending the streak to 27 and 28 following two wins at No. 10 Stanford.

OSU won the first match on Friday night by gaining two points on its winning margin in each subsequent set (25-23, 25-21, 25-19). Saturday night’s contest was a closer affair as two of three sets went to extra points (25-23, 29-27, 26-24).

On Friday night, the Buckeyes (5-0) and the Cardinal (3-2) squared off in Maples Pavilion where OSU had 18 more kills than Stanford. OSU was led by senior opposite hitter Miles Johnson and junior outside hitter Nicolas Szerszen, who combined to score 60 percent of OSU’s points for the night.

Johnson first-set kills matched the entire Stanford team kills combined with six. In the second set, Szerszen had three kills with two aces and two block assists, one of which gave OSU its 25th point. In the final set, the Buckeyes faced a 4-4 tie with the Cardinal, a rare occurrence during the night, freshman outside hitter Reese Devilbiss went on a 6-0 serving run that put Stanford in an insurmountable hole.

On Saturday night, OSU and Stanford played in Burnham Pavilion & Ford Center. The win was secured for the Buckeyes through its high-powered offense and serving where the Buckeyes had 12 serving aces and 43 kills, attacking at .379.

At one point in the first set, OSU led 10-5 by way of four aces in the first 15 rallies, but the Cardinal orchestrated a comeback to take a 23-22 lead. OSU put together a 3-0 run to close out the set with two kills by Johnson and one from Szerszen. The second set started out similar to the first as OSU had a lead as large as 7 points, but the Cardinal made another comeback to take the lead 22-21 after a 6-0 run. Senior setter Christy Blough ended the affair in a kill to help the Buckeyes win.

In the last set of the night, the Buckeyes never surrendered their lead, and Szerszen ended the contest with an ace. The set was highlighted by OSU’s last kill which came from Johnson as he racked up his 1000th career kill. He becomes only the 15th person in school history to reach the mark.

The win improves the Buckeyes, who now have wins over the No. 2, No. 10 and No. 11 ranked teams in the country.

The OSU men’s volleyball team travels to Loretto, Pennsylvania, on Friday to face off against Saint Francis University at 7 p.m.

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