The No. 1 Ohio State University men’s volleyball team flies out to California (Jan. 13-14) for a weekend competing at No. 10 Stanford. Both teams enter with flawless 3-0 marks and will meet up in top-10 battles on back-to-back nights. Friday’s clash will occur in Maples Pavilion while Saturday’s showdown will be contested at the Burnham Pavilion & Ford Center.
Friday, Jan. 13 – Stanford, Calif. (Maples Pavilion)
10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT – #1 Ohio State (3-0) at #10 Stanford (3-0)
Television: Pac-12 Network-Bay Area Only (watch online)
Saturday, Jan. 14 – Stanford, Calif. (Burnham Pavilion & Ford Center)
10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT – #1 Ohio State at #10 Stanford
Video Stream: Pac212.com (watch online)
Complete Match Notes
• Ohio State carries a 26-match winning streak into the weekend
• The Buckeyes last suffered an NCAA loss on February 6, 2016
• Ohio State won 78 of 96 sets during the victorious stretch
• The streak also includes 11 straight wins in true road matches
SZERSZEN NAMED NATION’S BEST OF OPENING WEEK
Nicolas Szerszen was tabbed as the National Player of the Week on Jan. 10 by the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) after an electric performance in lifting the top-ranked Buckeyes over No. 2 UCLA on Jan. 7. Szerszen also played a role in the Buckeyes downing of USC the night prior. In addition, he was also awarded MIVA Offensive Player of the Week recognition.
This marks the second National Player of the Week and ninth MIVA Player of the Week (eight Offensive, one Defensive) laurels of Szerszen’s career.
NEWCOMERS FILLING NICELY IN FOR DEPARTED CHAMPIONSHIP PIECES
Replacing Christian Franceschi, the starting ‘O2’ throughout the 2016 championship run, will be far from easy. Thus far, that task has been assigned to junior transfer Maxime Hervoir and freshman Reese Devilbiss. The Buckeye tandem has combined for 21 kills 17 digs and three blocks. Ohio State’s top serving specialist from a season ago, Peter Edwards, has also graduated. Freshmen Andrew Hillman and Shawn Hughes have filled in admirable by each recording a service ace during the first week of action. Hillman’s service snipe came on his very first career serve attempt.
BIG TEN TOPS PAC-12 ON STRENGTH OF TWO OSU VICTORIES
In the second annual Big Ten/Pac-12 Challenge, which simultaneously served as the 2017 AVCA Showcase, the top-ranked Buckeyes posted a pair of four-set wins over USC and No. 2 UCLA to open the season. The latter contest versus the Bruins was broadcast nationally on the Big Ten Network. Penn State split its weekend against the same two squads, resulting in a 3-1 overall triumph for the Big Ten.
Ohio State began its national title defense slotted as the top-ranked team in the AVCA Preseason Coaches Poll after receiving 23 of 24 first-place votes (the other going to UCLA). Three Buckeyes were chosen as Preseason All-Americans by Off the Block’s 26-member voting committee comprised of head coaches and volleyball reporters from around the country. Miles Johnson and Nicolas Szerszen garnered First Team recognition while Christy Blough was selected for the Second Team.
League coaches voted Ohio State as favorites to win the 2017 Midwestern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association championship. The Buckeyes own the most MIVA titles all-time, capturing their 25th regular season crown and 15th MIVA Tournament championship last season. The MIVA coaching crew also tabbed Nicolas Szerszen as the Preseason Player of the Year; joined by Christy Blough, Gabriel Domecus and Miles Johnson on the Preseason All-MIVA squad.
COLUMBUS – VOLLEYBALL CAPITAL OF THE MIDWEST
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 amatuer 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.
ALL HE DOES IS WIN, WIN, WIN
Assistant coach Kevin Burch has been on the coaching staff of an NCAA national championship program for six consecutive years. The 2016 crown completed a circle for Burch as the championship streak started with the OSU graduate serving as Ohio State’s volunteer assistant coach during the 2011 title run. He has not gone an entire academic year without bringing home NCAA hardware as a collegiate volleyball coaching staff member:
2015-16 – NCAA Men’s National Champions – Ohio State (assistant coach)
2014-15 – NCAA Women’s National Champions – Penn State (director of operations)
2013-14 – NCAA D-III Men’s National Champions – Springfield College (assistant coach)
2012-13 – NCAA Men’s National Champions – UC Irvine (assistant coach)
2011-12 – NCAA D-III Men’s National Champions – Springfield College (assistant coach)
2010-11 – NCAA Men’s National Champions – Ohio State (volunteer assistant coach)
News courtesy of Ohio State Athletics.