The top-ranked Ohio State Men’s volleyball team (13-0, 4-0 MIVA) is set to play two matches this weekend. Friday they will face Quincy University (3-8, 1-4 MIVA) and Saturday they will take on Lindenwood University (0-11, 0-6 MIVA).
After setting the program’s longest win streak with its 33rd straight victory, OSU now sits four games shy of Loyola University’s 40-game win streak set in the 2014-15 seasons. Two wins this weekend would bring OSU that much closer to the national mark.The all-time record of 47 straight wins was set by UCLA in 1983-1985.
“Honestly, and I don’t know if people believe this, but I don’t think about that at all,” said redshirt sophomore middle blocker Blake Leeson. “It’s not something that I go into each match thinking about. It’s something to defend and we’re going to the best of our ability continue to do that, but I don’t think I add any pressure on myself more than I already do.”
The Quincy Hawks come to Columbus having only beat the Buckeyes twice in the 53-game history, and having never beat OSU inside St. John Arena. The Buckeyes have only lost 14 total sets against the Hawks since the teams first met in 1993.
The trip to Columbus will be a homecoming for Ohio natives redshirt junior setter Thane Fanfulik and senior middle blocker Jarrod Kelso, both from Hilliard, Ohio, and junior outside hitter Anthony Winter from Olmsted Falls, Ohio.
Kelso and Winter are slotted in the No. 2 and No. 3 spots in kills per set for the Hawks with 2.10 and 1.70 kills, respectively. Fanfulik comes into the matchup averaging 7.21 assists per set.
“I think the challenging thing for us is that we just got to stay focused,” OSU coach Pete Hanson said. “We can’t play down to the level of the opponent. When we talked about that in practice this week about ‘Hey, we got to set a standard and play to our standard.’”
In OSU’s short history with the Lindenwood Lions, the Buckeyes have won all eight matches. Despite its historical dominance against the Lions, OSU is not looking past them this weekend.
“They’re young,” Hanson said. “They haven’t won too many matches, but they could come in and just create problems by playing hard and playing with energy if our guys don’t respond. So, we’ve talked more about our response to that physically and mentally and playing our game.”
Lindenwood has two players ranked in the top-five in four statistical categories within the Midwestern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association.
Junior libero Ryan Vorderer is ranked No. 4 in digs per set with 2.25. Lindenwood’s freshman middle blocker Sam Schindler has the fifth-best hitting percentage in the conference at .332, and holds the No. 2 spot in blocks per set and aces per set with 1.16 blocks per set and 0.42 aces per set.
Schindler trails OSU senior opposite hitter Miles Johnson, slotted in the No. 1 spot, and OSU senior outside hitter Nicolas Szerszen, slotted in the No. 2 spot, in hitting percentage. Johnson, attacking at a rate of .442, earned his third straight MIVA Offensive Player of the Week honor on Tuesday, becoming the first player since Shawn Sangrey in 2011 to win the award in three consecutive weeks.
OSU begins the weekend’s play against Quincy on Friday at 7 p.m. in St. John Arena. On Sunday, the Buckeyes take on Lindenwood in St. John Arena at 4 p.m.