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Buckeyes balance out with back-to-back victories

The No. 10-ranked Ohio State men’s volleyball team recorded its second straight victory of the season when it defeated George Mason 3-1 (29-27, 25-21, 20-25, 25-17) Tuesday at St. John Arena.

OSU seemed to be headed toward its second consecutive sweep until George Mason freshman John Jepson made a momentum-changing play.

“That was just a tremendous play by those guys,” OSU coach Pete Hanson said. “Anytime you can make a play like that near the bleachers it completely changes the momentum of the match. They’re just tremendous on defense.”

Leaping near the bench, Jepson saved what seemed to be an OSU point, and turned it into a Patriot rally, eventually allowing George Mason to win the third set.

The Buckeyes nearly the opening set with a five-point lead, before righting the ship and winning, 29-27.

Steven Kehoe, Shawn Sangrey and Mik Berzins combined for seven service aces in the match for the Buckeyes, compared to the Patriots’ zero.

“I thought our serving was pretty good tonight,” Hanson said. “We were in and out with our defense, but our serving was good all night.”

The Buckeyes did not want the momentum the Patriots had gained from Jepson’s play to carry over into the fourth set.

“We knew the points they scored in the third were on ourselves for the most part,” Berzins said. “We knew we had to just go in, refocus and minimize our errors.”

The Buckeyes were able to do that, winning the fourth set by eight points.

OSU also made a few adjustments to the game plan during the fourth set.

“We made a change and rolled our rotation,” Hanson said. “We kind of changed up the scenery in the fourth set, and that helped us.”

Sangrey led the way for OSU with 19.5 points. Kevin Heine had 18.5, and Berzins added 17.5.

“That was a really good win for us,” Berzins said. “(George Mason) plays the kind of volleyball we’re going to see in the future, so it was good to get a win.”

After losing its first two matches of the season, OSU has balanced its record at 2-2.

“We know teams just aren’t going to fall because we’re Ohio State,” Sangrey said. “We have a target on our back and we know that.”

OSU will look to extend its streak when it plays against IPFW at 7 p.m. Friday in Fort Wayne, Ind.

 

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