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Comeback win vaults OSU to Final Four

The No. 10 Ohio State men’s volleyball squad came back from a 2-1 deficit to beat No. 15 Loyola-Chicago 3-2 in the MIVA Tournament Championship Match on Saturday.

OSU pulled ahead in the first game and maintained its lead until Loyola tied it up at 14.

The game stayed close with 13 tied scores, but OSU pulled out the 30-28 victory with a final kill from sophomore opposite-hitter Shawn Sangrey.

Loyola came back in game two to tie up the match score at 1-1. The Ramblers maintained the lead for the duration of the game and won 30-25.

Tied at four in game three, Loyola pulled ahead 9-4 and kept its lead until OSU tied it up again at 22. Tied at 24, three consecutive kills pushed the Ramblers ahead to a 27-24 lead. After an OSU error, Loyola won 30-26, taking the lead in the match 2-1.

“Our serve got a little bit better late in game three and that put them out of system, and then you can get your block set up and you can dig a few balls, but we didn’t necessarily turn them into points,” coach Pete Hanson said. “We gave them a sense that they had some room to breathe and then they rolled out game three and beat us.”

Loyola pulled ahead early in game four at 4-2, but the Buckeyes quickly took over with a 9-4 lead. Loyola trailed for the rest of the game, allowing OSU a wide-margined 30-20 win.

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“Sangrey got on a serving run and that just sucked the wind out of their sails,” Hanson said. “You need a guy to sometimes do that, to just get you two or three points. Once we got that, then it was a pretty easy game and I think that momentum just built going into game five.”

In the 15-point fifth game, the Buckeyes pulled out of an early 4-4 tie and momentum carried them to a 14-9 match point lead. A kill from senior opposite-hitter Ted Schoenfeldt secured the game and match win for OSU.

“I kind of knew the ball was coming to me before the play,” Schoenfeldt said. “It was a good pass, I was ready for it, and couldn’t ask for a better feeling putting that ball away in game five.”

Schoenfeldt, who had a career-high 12 blocks and 11 assists, was named the most outstanding player of the tournament. He was also named part of the MIVA all-tournament team along with teammates Steven Kehoe, John Klanac and Sangrey, who had 22 kills and a match-high 26.5 points.

“This is what we played for all year,” Schoenfeldt said. “We train hard —I think we are the hardest-trained team in the nation as far as volleyball goes. We get in the weight room three days a week, lift hard. Preseason we really pushed ourselves to the limit to get to this point, and we’re not finished yet. We still have two more matches as far as we see it, and we’re going to do our best to win the national championship.”

OSU received its third-consecutive automatic bid to the NCAA Championship as a No. 4 seed to play No. 1 seed Stanford, who will host the semifinals.

“It’s going to be a huge match for us,” Hanson said. “But our kids have nothing to lose and we’re riding a [12]-game winning streak and hopefully we can just play good volleyball and just see what happens.”

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