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Men’s volleyball: No. 1 Ohio State takes on conference foe Grand Canyon twice over weekend

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Redshirt senior middle blocker Driss Guessous takes a set from senior setter Christy Blough in the match against Loyola on Feb. 12. Credit: Aliyyah Jackson | Lantern reporter

The top-ranked Ohio State men’s volleyball team (15-0, 6-0 MIVA) heads to Phoenix over the weekend for two conference matches against Grand Canyon University (9-5, 5-1 MIVA) on Friday and Sunday.

The Buckeyes come into the matchup having dropped a set in both wins against Quincy University and Lindenwood University, two teams that sit at the bottom of the Midwestern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association standings. Grand Canyon is currently riding a five-game win streak.

“It’ll be a challenge,” OSU coach Pete Hanson said. “They’re a veteran team, and our guys are going to have come ready to play.”

With a roster featuring only seven underclassmen, Grand Canyon sits only behind OSU in the MIVA standings, providing stiffer competition for the Buckeyes than either Quincy or Lindenwood could.

After winning 38 straight games, a school record among all teams competing head-to-head, the challenge for the Buckeyes moving forward will be maintaining such a high level of success.

“We’re continuing to remind the guys that, at this point in time, you’re going to get everyone’s best effort,” Hanson said. “We have our work cut out for us. We just have to go in there and be focused and play hard and see if we can outlast those guys.”

Grand Canyon is currently ranked eighth in blocks per set nationally, something the Buckeyes will need to prepare for after being stuffed eight times in one set against Lindenwood on Sunday. Redshirt junior middle blocker Ashton King is Grand Canyon’s blocking leader with 54 total blocks.

The Buckeyes have found considerable success in Phoenix, having only lost once in the six times that they have traveled there to play Grand Canyon. The one loss came last season in a five-set match, where Grand Canyon was able to pick up its second win ever against OSU in the teams’ 15-match history dating back to 2010.

“We know that they have a lot of crazy fans, so that should definitely be in their favor,” freshman outside hitter Reese Devilbiss said. “I’m pretty sure that if we play the way we can play, we’ll turn that crowd into our own crowd, and I hope we get the win.”

If OSU manages to beat Grand Canyon in both matches over the weekend, it will tie Loyola’s 40-match win streak from the 2014 and 2015 seasons, the longest win streak in MIVA history.

The Buckeyes take on Grand Canyon in Phoenix on Friday at 8 p.m. and on Sunday at 3 p.m.

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