The Ohio State men’s volleyball team couldn’t muster a win in its last regular season game.
OSU ended its regular season schedule with a 3-1 loss against No. 1 Loyola (Chicago) Friday at St. John Arena.
The Buckeyes (11-15, 6-8) took on the Ramblers (24-1, 14-0) Friday for the second time this season. The previous match also ended in a loss for the Buckeyes, as they fell, 3-0, Feb. 1 in Chicago.
The Buckeye defense was strong throughout the match but could not hold its own against Loyola’s offense.
Defensively, OSU doubled up Loyola in blocks, 10-5. Junior outside hitter Michael Henchy and junior middle blocker Dustan Neary — the reigning Men’s Intercollegiate Volleyball Association Defensive Player of the Week — led the way up front, each getting in on five blocks.
Redshirt-junior setter Peter Heinen said the Ramblers played to their strengths of solid serving and scoring near the antennas throughout the game to come out on top.
“Loyola has great service pressure and two of the best pin attackers in the country,” Heinen said, referring to sophomore Thomas Jaeschke and junior Cody Caldwell, who finished with 19 and 18 kills respectively.
This season OSU has struggled getting all of the new players to work together, with eight freshmen and three redshirt-freshmen on the roster, and that has been a main issue this year, Heinen said.
“We struggled with our consistency. That is going to happen when you have so many freshmen playing key roles, and we are still working to try and figure that out. When we have been able to put together a consistent effort from everyone on the floor, great things happen,” he said. “The ability is there, we just need to find a way to bring it every point.”
Senior libero Michael Piechowski said another season-long struggle has been playing at a steady, high level.
“Our struggle has been our consistency in matches and really staying aggressive against every opponent. As you know, our team is very young and we have a lot of freshmen. I would say our biggest improvement has been their ability to come ready to play and bring it,” he said.
Senior middle blocker Jonathan Newton agreed, saying the players vary by matches.
“Some games we will have one player playing good and another having an off game, and that has thrown us off during games. Like our coach said, we just need everyone to play the 80 percent level of good volleyball all the time and we will be able to beat anyone,” Newton said.
OSU also celebrated its seniors in their last match of the regular season and in Columbus. The honored players included libero Danny Baker, Newton, Piechowski and Heinen, who will not be returning to OSU next year.
Next up for the Buckeyes is the MIVA tournament, and their first match is set for Saturday against Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne in Fort Wayne, Ind.