FORT WAYNE, Ind. - The No. 15 Purdue Fort Wayne men's volleyball team defeated Ohio State on Tuesday night (Feb. 5) in straight sets (34-32, 25-17, 25-23) on Arnie Ball Court. This is the Mastodons' first win over the Buckeyes since 2014.
Michael Keegan finished with 15 assists in the first set alone, moving into fifth place on the program's career assists list; Keegan finished with 34. In fourth is Dennis Santiago, who had 3,065, 84 away from Keegan's 2981. Santiago is the current rally scoring era leader.
The first set was close throughout, as neither team led by more than four points. There were 24 tie scores and seven lead changes in the extended first frame. There were eight services errors between the two squads after the first Mastodon set point at 24-23, but Pelegrin Vargas took control at the end, finding his eighth kill and an ace to take the set. Vargas had his only two errors of the match in the first. Kolbie Knorr had four of his five digs in the opening set, and now has exactly 500, counting his two seasons at Quincy.
After taking the momentum-shifting first set, the Mastodons hit .450 in the second set and led the whole way, never yielding a tie score. Kade Bontrager and Keegan led the charge for the 'Dons, knocking down seven kills on seven attacks between the two of them. Colton Stone added two timely aces to force an OSU timeout at 12-7. A few runs later, and the lead ballooned to a match-high 10 points.
In the third set, the Mastodons held the Buckeyes to a match-low .042 hitting clip, allowing only nine kills. The Mastodons had six team blocks and were led by Richie Diedrich, who had four of his seven. Stone and Vargas each had three block assists to shut down the Ohio State offense. After Ohio State tied it up at 20-all, Vargas had three of the kills responsible for finishing off the match. He ended with 15 kills and a .500 hitting clip to lead the offense.
Purdue Fort Wayne held Ohio State to just three team blocks, which marked the first time since February 10, 2018 that the 'Dons have held a team to three or less. That match also happened to be against Ohio State.
The Mastodons now own 23 straight victories over teams outside of the AVCA Top 15 Coaches Poll, dating back to April 1, 2017.
Purdue Fort Wayne improves to 7-4, 1-0 MIVA, while Ohio State falls to 4-6, 0-2 MIVA. The Mastodons have another conference match on Friday, when they will welcome the McKendree Bearcats to Arnie Ball Court at 7 p.m. George Mason will come to town on Saturday.