The No. 11 Ohio State men’s volleyball team (2-3) came into Friday’s match against George Mason (4-1) needing a win, after falling to then-No. 5 BYU and then-No. 11 Stanford on the road.
But with the fourth set tied at four, George Mason went on a 6-0 scoring run, aided by four Buckeye attack errors. The Patriots used that and a second 4-0 scoring run to crush the Buckeyes chances for a comeback, winning the set, 25-11, and the match, 3-1.
The Buckeyes have suffered three straight losses, the first time since the 2013-14 season they have had this large of a streak.
Sophomore outside hitter Kyle Skinner used his first start as a Buckeye to secure nine kills, two blocks and five digs. Skinner replaced junior outside hitter Reese Devilbiss, who is out with a concussion sustained during practice this week.
Only redshirt sophomore opposite Jake Hanes tallied more kills than Skinner, finishing with 19, three blocks and a .389 hitting percentage.
Ohio State struggled as a whole, committing 21 service errors and totalling a .257 hitting percentage.
“I think, as a whole, our team just needs to find that connection, to play as a unit, as a team instead of playing as individuals,” Skinner said. “Once we do that we’ll be perfectly fine.”
After committing three attack errors and breaking even with the Patriots at 10 in the second set, momentum shifted towards Ohio State when a George Mason attack error and a pair of kills by Skinner andHanes pushed the Buckeyes’ lead to 17-12. Ohio State never looked back, winning the set, 25-19.
The Buckeyes were propelled to victory in the second set by their .429 hitting percentage and a dismal -.037 percentage put up by the Patriots, but Ohio State followed up in the third and fourth sets with meager percentages of their own with .219 and -.037, respectively.
George Mason junior opposite hitter Hayden Wagner did everything he could to squash an Ohio State comeback in the third set, leading his team with eight kills and one ace.
The Buckeyes entered set-point in the third down 24-19. A kill from sophomore outside hitter Martin Lallemand and ace by redshirt sophomore outside hitter Tyler Alter brought the Buckeyes within three but an attack error by Lallemand ended the set with a score of 25-21.
Wagner finished the match with 17 kills and a .303 hitting percentage.
Ohio State will stay at St. John Arena to take on Erskine at 7 p.m. Saturday.