No. 8/9 Ohio State Tops IPFW, 3-1, in MIVA Season Opener

COLUMBUS, Ohio - The No. 8/9 Ohio State men's volleyball team earned a 3-1 (27-29, 25-11, 25-21, 25-20) win over IPFW in the team's MIVA season opener in Fort Wayne, Ind. The Buckeyes improved to 9-4 overall and 1-0 in the conference, while the Mastodons fell to 6-4 on the season and 1-1 in MIVA play.

Senior opposite Shawn Sangrey posted a match-best 23 kills and had nine digs with three block assists for the Buckeyes. Senior Mik Berzins added nine kills with six digs and six blocks (1s, 5a), while junior Grayson Overman had nine kills and a match-high seven blocks (1s, 6a). Junior libero Derek Kues tallied nine digs in the match and redshirt freshman Peter Heinen finished with 44 assists.

IPFW was led by Ivan Matos with 16 kills, while Eddie Rivera added eight. Defensively, JW Kieckhefer had a match-best 10 digs and Corey Frain led the Mastodons with six blocks.

An IPFW attack error put the Buckeyes up 6-3 in the opening set and Ohio State held its lead throughout most of the set. A kill by Berzins pushed Ohio State ahead at 13-11, while another IPFW attack error made the score 21-18 in favor of the visitors. The Mastodons fought back to lock the score at 21 apiece and the two squads battled back and forth for match point. IPFW pulled off the comeback to take the first set, 29-27.

Ohio State opened set two on a four-point run and pushed ahead to take a 8-2 lead on an IPFW error. A kill by Anthony Hock triggered another big rally, giving the Buckeyes a 10-point lead at 17-7. Kills by Berzins and Sangrey made the score 22-9 and a service ace by Overman gave Ohio State a 25-11 win.

Tied at 3-3 in set three, Ohio State used a pair of kills by Sangrey and one from Berzins to take a 6-3 lead. IPFW came back to tie the score at 12 apiece, but another kill by Berzins led to a three-point Ohio State run. A kill by Overman and a Berzins service ace put the Buckeyes up 17-14 and Ohio State held on to take the set, 25-21.

The two squads battled to a 5-5 tie at the start of set four until IPFW garnered a two-point run for an 8-6 advantage. The home team held on to its minimal lead throughout most of the set. Down one at 19-18, four IPFW attack errors and two Sangrey kills turned the table to put Ohio State up at 23-19. Another kill by Sangrey gave the Buckeyes match point and a block by John Tholen and Hock solidified the 25-20 win.

Ohio State hosts Ball State at 7 p.m. Feb. 17 and Carthage at 3 p.m. Feb. 19 in St. John Arena.

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