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No. 1 Ohio State stays perfect with win over No. 10 Loyola

Redshirt senior middle blocker Driss Guessous takes a set from senior setter Christy Blough in the match against Loyola on Feb. 12. Credit: Aliyyah Jackson | Lantern reporter

The No. 1 Ohio State men’s volleyball team notched another win on its belt on Saturday, this time against conference foe No. 10 Loyola University in St. John Arena.
The Buckeyes improve to 8-0 for the season and 4-0 in Midwestern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association (MIVA) conference play after a sweeping the Loyola Ramblers in straight sets, (25-22, 25-18, 25-19). With the loss, the Rambles drop to 7-4 overall and 3-1 in MIVA. The win for OSU puts it atop of the MIVA standings.
“They’re playing with confidence,” OSU coach Pete Hanson said. “Right now, we don’t have any glaring weaknesses. There’s some finer points that we’re trying to smooth over and get better at, but for the most part they’re pretty much clicking on all cylinders right now.”
After the Buckeyes gained a 9-3 lead at the start of the first set, the Ramblers battled back to tie the score up at 16. OSU then responded with a three-point run. The score stayed within three for the remainder of the set as the Buckeyes clenched the set 25-22.
“I didn’t think we were serving the ball real well early on in that set,” Hanson said. “We had a few more errors than what we had been in the last couple of weeks and that kind fed into their momentum a little bit.”
The Buckeyes committed seven service errors, more than twice as many as the Ramblers committed in the first set. Both OSU and Loyola were hitting well as both teams attacked at a rate greater than .400. Senior opposite Miles Johnson led the Buckeyes attacking regime with 7 kills and a .700 hitting percentage.
Loyola gained its first lead of the night during a 3-0 run to begin the second set. Another Rambler three-point streak tied the score at 10 all. The Buckeyes then amassed a lead as large as seven points as they won the match 25-18.
The Buckeyes were able to neutralize the Loyola’s offensive efforts, holding the Ramblers to a .000 attacking rate. OSU combined for five total blocks in the second set while accumulating nine digs.
Third set began with back and forth points for the two teams with the score remaining knotted up at 15. OSU closed out the set on a 10-4 run to win 25-19.
Three players on the Buckeye squad swung at a rate greater than .400 in the third set. Senior outside hitter Nicolas Szerszen had the best attacking rate, going .500, while also leading the team in digs with seven.
OSU’s win extends its historic winning streak to 36 games, a streak longer than any team in OSU school history that competes in head-to-head competition. The win helps the Buckeyes inch closer to Loyola’s 40-game win streak from the 2014-2015 season and the all-time record of 47 set by UCLA in 1983-1984.
“The goal is not to beat the streak,” Szerszen said. “The goal is to get the national championship. That’s the most important thing and then if the streak comes along it’s even better.”
The Buckeyes are back in action Friday against conference opponent Quincy University. First serve is at 7 p.m. in St. John Arena.

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