After nearly a month on the road, the No. 9 Ohio State men’s volleyball team was happy to finally be back home at St. John Arena this weekend.
The Buckeyes (20-6, 11-2 MIVA) returned from the long road trip and swept Princeton (3-17) in the two-game series.
On Friday, OSU jumped out early over the seemingly overwhelmed Tigers in the first two sets, 25-17, 25-18, to take a 2-0 lead.
Although many of the fans expected the Buckeyes to complete the sweep, Princeton would not go down easily. The Tigers rallied to take the next two sets, 22-25, 22-25, to stun OSU and send the match into a deciding fifth set.
“Princeton played a pesky game of volleyball,” OSU coach Pete Hanson said.
Hanson, who had gone with a deeper-than-normal rotation for the match, looked back toward his senior leaders to get the job done.
“We had some older guys and fifth-year seniors to fall back on,” Hanson said. “Ultimately we were stronger at the end.”
The Buckeyes jumped to an 8-2 lead and ultimately to the set and match with a 15-9 victory.
OSU was led by fifth-year senior Jason Tobkin, who had nine kills and an OSU-record eight aces for the match, and junior Shawn Sangrey, who also contributed nine kills.
“I wouldn’t say that happens too often,” Tobkin said of his performance. “It was more serves of frustration and determination to keep momentum on our side.”
OSU outhit Princeton .357 to .266 and had a 63-52 margin in kills for the match.
OSU rebounded from its close call the previous night with a 3-0 sweep of the Tigers on Saturday.
The Buckeyes opened up the match by taking the first two sets, 25-18, 25-20, with relative ease much like the night before.
But instead of letting Princeton get back in the game, the Buckeyes came out with a fiery determination. OSU rolled over the Tigers, 25-12, in the third set, completing the sweep for the day and the weekend.
A big difference for the match was OSU’s play at the net, where it outblocked the Tigers, 10-2. Fifth-year senior Kevin Heine led the effort with a match-high five blocks to go along with his 10 kills.
For the match, OSU outhit the Tigers again .548 to .087 and had a 39-28 margin in kills.
The Buckeyes’ success came to end on Sunday. OSU fell 3-1 (25-21, 18-25, 25-19, 25-9) to No. 10 Penn State.
The Buckeyes are back on the road again this weekend as they travel to George Mason and St. Francis to close out their regular season.