No. 10 Ohio State Tops St. Francis, 3-1

COLUMBUS, Ohio – The tenth-ranked Ohio State men’s volleyball team improved to 5-3 on the season with four-set win (25-20, 22-25, 25-18, 29-27) over St. Francis Sunday afternoon in St. John Arena.

Senior Shawn Sangrey reached a major milestone in his career during the win, notching the 1000th kill in his career during the first set. The opposite from Columbia, Pa., finished with a team-best 16 kills on the day and now has 1,014 in his career.

Sangrey also added a match-high 14 digs along with two service aces. Junior Grayson Overman totaled 10 kills on 18 attempts and added three blocks (2s, 1a). Junior Chen Levitan had nine kills and two service aces, while senior Mik Berzins finished with eight kills and 11 digs. Redshirt freshman Peter Heinen handed out a match-high 43 assists.

Alex Kane led the Red Flash with 18 kills and had seven block assists. Adam Roche notched 10 kills and led all with 12 blocks (1s, 11a). Setter Ryan Williams finished with 40 assists.

The teams exchanged a pair of two-point runs to kick off the first set. Up a point a 6-5, the Buckeyes rallied to take a 9-5 advantage highlighted by kills from Berzins and Sangrey. A service ace by Levitan and a kill from Sangrey set the score at 14-8 to force a St. Francis timeout. Another major run by the Buckeyes gave the team a 22-15 lead and the Scarlet and Gray went on to take the set, 25-20.

Ohio State took a quick 4-2 lead on a kill by Overman to open the second stanza, but the Red Flash fired a five-point rally to go up 7-4. Down 7-5, another kill from Overman triggered an 8-3 Ohio State run for a 13-10 lead. St. Francis fought back to lock the score at 13 apiece and again at 16 all. Three-straight Red Flash points led to a 25-22, set-two win for the visiting team.

In set three, back-to-back St. Francis blocks gave the Red Flash a 5-3 lead, but kills from Overman and Michael Henchy set the score at 7-7. At 11-10 Ohio State, a kill by freshman Shawn Herron sent the Buckeyes on a three-point run for a 13-10 lead. The team closed out the set with 6-2 run for a 25-18 win.

The Red Flash pushed a 5-1 lead to force an early Ohio State timeout to start the final set and with a two-point lead at 10-8, St. Francis scored the next eight for a 10-point advantage. The Buckeyes were not out done as the team rattled off their own major run, cutting the Red Flash lead to four at 18-14. A trio of St. Francis attack errors and a service ace from John Tholen forced a Red Flash timeout  at 20-18 and the Buckeyes came back to lock the score at 23-23 on a service ace from Derek Kues. The Buckeyes faced match point five times and were able to solidify the match with a 29-27 win.

Ohio State hosts the Ken and Dave Dunlap Invitational, Jan. 27-28, in St. John Arena. The Buckeyes face Pacific at 7 p.m. Friday and follow with another 7 p.m. match vs. Stanford Saturday. Penn State plays Stanford then Pacific at 5 p.m. prior to Ohio State’s matches.

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