Columbus, Ohio – The sixth-ranked Ohio State (8-2 overall, 2-0 Midwestern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association) men’s volleyball team defeated Quincy, 3-0 (25-16, 25-17, 25-19) behind a perfect hitting night by Mik Berzins with 13 kills in 13 attempts with no errors. He ties the Ohio State match record held by three others at ten for ten. He shares the record with Layne Dreven (at Findlay, 2005), Colin McMillan (vs. Tri State, 1998) and Gary Wrobel (vs. Thomas More, 1996). Berzins posted a match-high 14 points with 13 kills and two assist blocks. John Tholen added 11 points with eight kills (.636) and three solo blocks. Quincy’s Ryan Lehmann recorded a team-high 13 points with 12 kills (.350) and two assist blocks. Joseph Sokol added nine points with eight kills (.235) and two assist blocks.
With the score tied at three in set one, a Hawk error and kills from Berzins and Shawn Sangrey gave Ohio State a 6-3 lead. A Sokol-Kyle Volstad block cut the lead to 6-4. A kill from Berzins and a Quincy error made it 8-4. Quincy cut the margin to 8-5 with a Sokol kill. Two Hawk errors opened the Buckeye lead to 10-5. OSU held the lead at 20-14, when a Hawk error and two kills from Grayson Overman kill gave the Buckeyes a 23-14 lead. A Lehmann kill and a Joseph Ascher-Steven Battaglia block made it 23-16. The Buckeyes reached set point at 24-16 with a Klanac kill. Ohio State, with an Overman kill, won the set, 25-16. OSU hit .480 for the set to .296 for Quincy.
Quincy opened set two with three consecutive kills from Battaglia to lead, 3-0. OSU responded with two solo blocks from John Tholen and with three Hawk errors took a 5-3 lead. Leading, 8-6, a John Klanac ace serve gave OSU a three point lead. Kills from Sokol and Volstad cut the lead to one at 9-8. A Steven Kehoe kill and a Berzins-Kevin Heine block along with two Hawk errors gave Ohio State a 13-8 lead. The Buckeyes, at 19-15, used kills from Klanac and Berzins, a Tobkin solo block and a Kehoe ace serve to open a 23-15 lead. A Lehmann kill cut the lead to 23-16. Ohio State reached set point at 24-16 with a kill from Berzins. The Hawks, with an Ascher solo block, stopped the set point at 24-17. OSU won the set, 25-17 with a kill from Heine to take a 2-0 lead in the match. The Buckeyes hit .562 in the set to .231 for the Hawks.
Set three opened with a Klanac kill and a Hawk error for a 2-0 lead. A Lehmann kill and an OSU error tied the set at two. A Heine kill and two Quincy errors gave Ohio State a 5-2 lead. At 8-5, kills from Berzins and Tholen made the OSU lead five at 10-5. Leading, 11-6, a Berzins-Heine block and a kill from Berzins opened a seven point lead at 13-6. The Buckeyes held the margin and at 23-16 with a Mike Stefani kill reached match point at 24-16. Quincy stopped three match points with kills from Ascher and Volstad and a Lehmann-Sokol block to cut the margin to 24-19. Berzins, with his 13th kill of the match, ended the set at 25-19 to give the Buckeyes a 3-0 lead. OSU hit .478 in the set to .111 for the Hawks.
Ohio State hit .500 for the match to .213 for Quincy. OSU had a 40-36 advantage in kills and a 37-35 margin in assists. Andrew Ouanu posted a match-high 34 assists for the Hawks while Kehoe recorded 23 and Kyle Lawrence 13 for the Buckeyes. Ohio State recorded two aces in the match from Kehoe and Klanac. The Hawks were held without an ace and had 13 service errors to seven for OSU. Defensively, the Buckeyes had a 25-12 margin in digs with Klanac posting a match-high seven. Lehmann recorded a team-high six for Quincy. OSU had a 7-6.5 edge in team blocks in the match. Ascher recorded a match-high four blocks with a solo and three assists for the Hawks. OSU’s Tholen collected a team-high three solo blocks.
The Buckeyes and Hawks complete the two-match series at 7 p.m. Friday in St. John Arena.
Pete Hanson, Ohio State head coach
On overall play
“I thought our overall play was pretty good. We talked about being focused and playing to our level and not our opponent’s level and I thought for the most part we did that. It’s nice to get some of the younger guys some playing time. John Tholen for example had a nice match and Mik Berzins played really well. We’ll probably have Mik play that position again if we continue to do well and we’ll probably have Kyle (Lawrence) get some time, he hasn’t had a lot of game experience and he has worked hard in practice. We’ll get some of the younger guys in and rest some of the older guys.”
On changing the rotation
“It was more a matter of getting experience. The older guys having played a tough match the night before could physically go, but it’s tough to come back mentally from that type of a match. For the most part they were good. (Shawn) Sangrey and (John) Klanac were good. They’ve played a lot over the course of their career and I think any time that you can give them a rest that’s a good thing. It will be nice to get some of the other guys a little playing experience and reward them for practicing hard.”
On supporting Mike Stefani and breast cancer
“I think that just kind of shows what our small Buckeye family is all about. Our kids realize that Mike’s family has had some very serious things going on with his mom’s health and our guys have been there for Mike and I think it’s nice that they’re able to come down and do a public show of support which is always neat. They (the Stefani’s) are great supporters of the program, so we were just trying to return the favor and help her through a hard time.”