Stakes are high as the No. 1 Ohio State University men’s volleyball team enters the desert to take on the Grand Canyon University Antelopes in a weekend double dip playing Friday (Feb. 24) and Sunday(Feb. 26). Not only is Ohio State chasing what would be just the sixth 40-match winning streak in NCAA D I-II Men’s Volleyball history (would be only the third school to accomplish the feat), but GCU is right behind the Buckeyes in the MIVA standings at 5-1 (OSU is 6-0).
Friday, Feb. 24 – Phoenix, Ariz. (GCU Arena)
8 p.m. ET/6 p.m. MT – No. 1 Ohio State (15-0, 6-0 MIVA) vs. Grand Canyon (9-5, 5-1 MIVA)
Video Stream: YouTube
Sunday, Feb. 26 – Phoenix, Ariz. (Antelope Gymnasium)
3 p.m. ET/1 p.m. MT – No. 1 Ohio State vs. Grand Canyon
Video Stream: YouTube
Complete Match Notes
• Ohio State is riding a 38-match winning streak
• Marks the longest winning streak in OSU Athletics history for teams competing in head-to-head competition
• The Buckeyes last suffered an NCAA loss on February 6, 2016 (over 380 days have passed)
• Ohio State has won 114 of 136 sets (84%) during the victorious stretch
• The streak includes six wins over Top-5 opponents and nearly half (18) against teams ranked inside the Top-12
• Also included in the streak are 16 straight wins in true road matches
• Loyola owns 40-match run in 2014-15 for the longest in MIVA history
• UCLA set the all-time record of 47 straight in both 1979-80 and 1983-85
HISTORY WITH THE ANTELOPES
The Buckeyes first clashed with Grand Canyon in 2010, meeting up 15 times in total. Ohio State has arose victorious in 13 of those previous bouts, but dropped the most recent showdown in Phoenix — a five-set loss in 2015. Ohio State is 5-1 all-time playing at GCU, however.
Pete Hanson has roamed the sideline as Ohio State men’s volleyball head coach for more than three decades and will soon coach his 1,000th career match as the Buckeye leader. In 993 contests, Hanson owns an overall winning percentage of .665 (660-333) which includes a 286-90 (.761) ledger in MIVA play. The four-time National Coach of the Year has guided OSU to a pair of NCAA titles, 25 MIVA regular season championships, 15 MIVA Tournament trophies while mentoring 45 All-Americans since taking over the helm in 1985.
AND THEN THERE WAS ONE
The Buckeyes received an assist from Big Ten brethren Penn State on Jan. 28 by handing Coker College its first loss of 2017, ensuring Ohio State as the country’s only remaining undefeated squad.
CHAMPIONSHIP TICKETS ON SALE NOW
All-session tickets for the 2017 NCAA Men’s Volleyball Championship are now on sale. Ohio’s capital city has laid claim to the title of ‘Volleyball Capital of the Midwest,’ becoming the first site in NCAA history to host both the women’s and men’s collegiate national championship in the same academic year in addition to a long history of hosting amateur volleyball events. The NCAA Women’s Volleyball Championship was held Dec. 15-17, 2016 downtown at Nationwide Arena with the men’s trophy being awarded May 4-6, 2017 inside St. John Arena.
Ohio State is not only 15-0 and the top-ranked team in the land, but is also slotted highly in nearly every statistical category. The Buckeyes are attacking an NCAA-best .383 as a team and rank second nationally in kills (13.78/set), aces (1.90/set) and assists (12.78/set). Ohio State ranks Top-10 in the country with 2.40 blocks/set (10th) and an opponent hitting percentage of .198 (8th) as well.
Individually, three Buckeyes can be found in the Top-10 of at least one NCAA statistical category. Nicolas Szerszen’s .76 aces per set are tops in the country while Miles Johnson’s 5.22 points/set and 4.39 kills/set are both slotted third. Szerszen is also rated highly in each of those categories, coming in at fourth in points/set (5.07) and kills/set (4.06). Szerszen rounds out his lofty numbers attacking .429, the 10th-higtest clip in the country. In addition, Christy Blough’s 11.32 assists/set have not only aided the Johnson-Szerszen offensive output, but also rank second in the entire NCAA.
THE ACE RACE
Miles Johnson surpassed Buckeye great Steve Potter (1992-95) with his 124th career service ace on Jan. 28 vs. Long Beach State, becoming Ohio State’s all-time career leader for aces. Johnson’s sole ownership of the school record lasted just 37 minutes, however, as Nicolas Szerszen also tallied his 124th ace to pull even atop the list later in that same match. Szerszen is now a few steps ahead at 142 aces while Johnson remains in the hunt with 130 aces.
The aforementioned dynamic duo does not represent the only Buckeyes chasing all-time career marks. Christy Blough, Gabriel Domecus and Driss Guessous are climbing up the school rankings as well. A comprehensive look at the ‘Career Records Watch’ can be found on Page 7 of the match notes.
News courtesy of Ohio State Athletics.