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Men’s Volleyball: Ohio State faces struggling Lees-McRae at home

Sophomore outside hitter Martin Lallemand (6) attacking the ball against Loyola on Sunday, Feb. 24, 2019 at St. John Arena in Columbus, Ohio. Credit: Kaycie Golic | For The Lantern

The Ohio State men’s volleyball team will try to put all the pieces back together on Friday as it takes on Lees-McRae in St. John Arena.

The Buckeyes (6-14, 2-6 MIVA) hope to keep senior setter Sanil Thomas on the court for every point this weekend against the Bobcats (1-13, 0-10 CC). Thomas has enjoyed increased playing time in the past few matches, still recovering from a right hand injury he sustained in January.

If Thomas returns to the full-time setter role on Friday, the Buckeyes will have all of the lineup available that began the season except for junior outside hitter Reese Devilbiss, who is still recovering from an unknown injury he suffered a few weeks ago.

Ohio State comes in on a three-match skid, with its most recent loss coming against then-No. 11 USC in five sets. Sophomore opposite hitter Jake Hanes has led the Buckeyes in his four matches since returning from injury with 69 kills and nine aces, adding 20 digs and six total blocks.

In addition to Hanes, the Ohio State offense is supported by sophomore outside hitter Martin Lallemand and redshirt senior middle blocker Blake Leeson, who have combined for 288 kills and 27 aces.

In the loss to USC, Lallemand and Leeson combined for 12 kills and three aces.

Ohio State will also rely on junior setter Andrew Hillman to contribute on serves, as he connected on four aces against USC, totaling six aces in his 10 sets this season.

Coming into the match on a 12-game losing streak, the Bobcats have lost eight matches in straight sets, with only one loss lasting all five sets. Their lone victory this season came Jan. 15 in straight sets against Bluefield College.

Lees-McRae fell to Lincoln Memorial in four sets in its most recent match. The Bobcats will travel to Alderson Broaddus on Thursday before Friday’s match in St. John Arena.

Junior middle blocker and outside hitter Drew Sims leads the team with 112 kills, nine aces and 43 blocks, adding 48 digs.

Junior libero Chris Woolslayer has contributed 108 digs for the Bobcats, as well as 2.25 digs per set, a value which puts him at No. 15 nationally.

The Buckeyes will challenge Woolslayer early and often, as they are averaging 26.13 attacks per set this season.

Ohio State takes on Lees-McRae in St. John Arena at 7 p.m. Saturday.

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