After successfully defending their championship title from 2016, the 2017 Ohio State men’s volleyball team received their championship rings this week. The rings feature the prominent “O” for Ohio State, as well as referencing the back to back titles from 2016 and 2017. In May, The Buckeyes defeated BYU in straight sets to claim the third title in program history, completing a 32-2 season.
NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP rings arrived early!
Take a ? at this ?!#GoBucks pic.twitter.com/TUcDY0nzuO
— OSU Men's Volleyball (@OhioState_MVB) September 7, 2017
The Buckeyes will have to replace plenty of key pieces from last year’s championship team if they hope to make it three titles in a row. Setter Christy Blough, middle blocker Driss Guessous, opposite Miles Johnson, and libero Gabriel Domecus were all key contributors the last two seasons, but have all graduated and used up their NCAA eligibility. However, the future of the team appears to be set as senior outside hitter Nicolas Szerszen will be returning for his senior season. Szerszen is a two-time AVCA first team All American, as well as being named National Player of the Year in 2016. In addition, the Buckeyes will welcome back outside hitter Maxime Hervoir, who was third on the team last year with 287.5 points, as well as middle blocker Blake Leeson, who led the team in total blocks with 117.
2017 was a big year for men’s college volleyball as the sport saw growth in two important areas. The total number of players participating in men’s volleyball has continued to grow, as seen by the 86% growth rate in the last 15 years. In addition, the 2017 championship game was witnessed in person by 8,205 fans at St. John Arena in Columbus. This is 199% higher than the total number of fans that went to the 2016 championship final.