The Ohio State men’s volleyball team hopes to build on its win against Quincy this past weekend when it returns to St. John Arena for matchups against Lewis and Loyola Chicago.
Ohio State (5-9, 1-3 MIVA), which currently sits at seventh in the Midwest Intercollegiate Volleyball Association, has an opportunity to make a significant move in the league standings when it faces the league’s top two teams this weekend.
Lewis (11-4, 4-0 MIVA) and Loyola Chicago (11-3, 4-0 MIVA) have dominated the league and have lost a combined seven matches all season.
Despite the tough competition, Ohio State head coach Pete Hanson said the message to his team stays the same.
“They’re not going to give us points. They’re not going to error their way out of matches or sets. We’ve got to play good, clean volleyball,” Hanson said. “Hopefully being at home in St. John Arena will help.”
Hanson said sophomore outside hitter Martin Lallemand and junior outside hitter Reese Devilbiss will likely be back on the court this weekend, following a pair of undisclosed injuries, adding experience back to a lineup that last weekend featured six underclassmen, three of whom were true freshmen.
Both of the Buckeyes’ weekend opponents are led by a slew of upperclassmen.
Redshirt junior outside hitter Ryan Coenen leads Lewis with 143 kills, also providing 13 aces, 53 digs and 35 blocks.
The Flyers also feature senior setter Matt Yoshimoto and junior outside hitter Kyle Bugee who are serving up the first- and second-most aces per set in the country, with an .813 and .722 mark, respectively.
For Loyola Chicago, senior outside hitter Collin Mahan leads the Ramblers with 185 kills and 23 aces, adding 92 digs and 31 total blocks.
In the absence of a couple upperclassmen starters, including sophomore opposite hitter Jake Hanes, redshirt sophomore outside hitter Tyler Alter stepped into the opposite hitter role for the Buckeyes last weekend against Quincy and totaled 13 kills and four blocks.
Alter said his performance was a direct result of the team’s hard work.
“I think the team played well and that kind of helped me and helped everyone on the court,” Alter said.
Hanson said Alter’s attitude has helped the team stay calm and on course amid injuries.
“Tyler’s a young man that is very kind of even-keeled, doesn’t get too high, doesn’t get too low. He kind of lets errors just roll off his back and that’s exactly what we needed,” Hanson said. “He’s just a young man that we know has a lot of volleyball knowledge and experience within him.”
Ohio State will face Lewis at 7 p.m. Thursday and Loyola Chicago at 2 p.m. Sunday at St. John Arena.