After a pair of victories last weekend against No. 10 Stanford (3-2), the No. 1 Ohio State men’s volleyball team (5-0) plays on the road again this Friday against Saint Francis (3-2).
The Buckeyes will be looking to extend their current 28 game winning streak, a streak that includes 13 straight true road wins, with a win against the Red Flash. OSU has won the last 10 matches against Saint Francis dating back to a loss in 2010, the only win for the Red Flash in the two teams’ 30-game history.
“I expect it to be a battle there. They’re looking forward to us coming over as the reigning national champ and the No. 1 team in the country, so it’s going to be a great atmosphere,” coach Pete Hanson said. “Our guys got to be ready. We’ve talked about this numerous times that every gym you roll into is going to come after you with a target on your back and those kids are going to be ready.”
The Red Flash come into the matchup off a win against Fort Wayne, which went to five sets, last Friday. This comes after a loss in straight sets to No. 13 Ball State.
Saint Francis has three attackers ranked in the top five in kills in the Eastern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association (EIVA). Redshirt freshman outside hitter Michael Fisher trails redshirt junior outside hitter Stephen Braswell in the rankings with 55 and 59 kills, respectively. Senior opposite hitter Jeff Hogan tops the conference leaderboard with 73 kills.
“They’ve always been a tough team to play because they’re kind of different from everyone else in the way that they’re playing,” junior outside hitter Nicolas Szerszen said.
Saint Francis will have to find a way to contain Szerszen and senior opposite hitter Miles Johnson this weekend as both Szerszen and Johnson are ranked nationally in points per set at fourth and fifth, respectively.
Szerszen has also gain national recognition on his own after being named the National Player of the Week on January 10 by the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVIC). He was also dubbed Midwestern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association (MIVA) Offensive Player of the Week.
The Buckeyes and the Red Flash start action at 7:30 p.m. on Friday in DeGol Arena.