The mantra of “Home Sweet Home” has been the theme for several Ohio State athletic teams that have enjoyed the most success playing on university grounds.
The Ohio State men’s volleyball team has been no different. It has made its home at St. John Arena a nightmare for opposing teams.
Coach Pete Hanson said that the comfort level at home has really helped elevate his team’s play.
“I think some teams have a harder time adjusting to the bigger arena and that helps our guys a lot,” Hanson said.
The Buckeyes have been the definition of “perfect” at home, not only winning all five matches this season, but also sweeping all three sets in each of those respective matches. They have won each home set by an average margin of seven points.
Hanson said that playing in St. John Arena every day for practice has been important for the players.
“It is a great facility that, when set up for volleyball, has a very good feel to it for our guys. Being able to practice every day there makes a huge difference also,” Hanson said. “The great lighting and very good visual surroundings are what help to make St. John a great place to play.”
Hanson said that while he is pleased with his team’s home success, he knows that tougher tasks still lie ahead.
“We have some very good teams still scheduled to come to St. John Arena and I think our early schedule at home has been a bit easier than what we will finish with,” Hanson said.
After facing Carthage this Friday, the Buckeyes don’t return home until early March when they face No. 7 Penn State in a rematch from an early-season meeting. They then go on the road again for a couple of weeks before finishing the regular season with three consecutive matches at home against Midwest Intercollegiate Volleyball Association conference opponents.
Being able to replicate their early home domination during that final, three-match stretch will be essential for the Buckeyes to win the MIVA conference.
“Home-court advantage for the MIVA playoffs is huge,” Hanson said. “We always want to win the conference and be the home team for all the rounds of the tournament.”
Earning home court advantage in the playoffs would be instrumental for the Buckeyes considering how they have played at home already this season. The winner of the MIVA playoffs gains berth into the NCAA Men’s Volleyball Final Four.
Hanson did not understate what that meant to his team.
“That is truly one of our top priorities each and every year,” Hanson said.