Season-high offensive production was not enough for the Ohio State men’s volleyball team on Friday night, falling to Lindenwood in four sets, 25-21, 30-28, 17-25 and 25-20.
The Buckeyes (7-16, 2-7 MIVA) used the return of senior setter Sanil Thomas and junior outside hitter Reese Devilbiss to attain a season-high 65 kills on the night, but their 42 total errors compared to 23 by Lindenwood (8-15, 4-6 MIVA) kept the Buckeyes from establishing a rhythm and winning more than a single set.
“I thought at times our offense was really, really good,” Ohio State head coach Pete Hanson said. “But it just seemed like there were crucial moments where an error would pop up when we could really separate ourselves from [Lindenwood].”
The Buckeyes opened up an 8-5 lead early in the second set thanks to a three-point run, including a kill by Devilbiss, a combined block by Devilbiss and redshirt senior middle blocker Blake Leeson and an ace by freshman middle blocker Ethan Talley.
Ohio State extended its lead to as many as five, but a late 6-1 point surge by the Lions tied the match at 23. A kill by redshirt sophomore outside hitter Jake Hanes gave Ohio State set point, but a kill by Lindenwood freshman outside hitter Phil Swartz took the set to overtime.
The Lions and the Buckeyes traded single-point leads, but an Ohio State attack error and a kill by Swartz pushed Lindenwood over the Buckeyes in the second set, 30-28.
Swarts led the Lions with 14 kills and three aces, also contributing three digs. As a team, Lindenwood mostly had their way offensively tallying 47 kills on .404 hitting.
Hanes led the Buckeyes with 17 kills, adding two digs, while Devilbiss finished with 14 kills and two aces, adding three digs and a block assist.
Thomas accounted for 60 assists, a kill, two aces, three digs and a block assist. His 60 assists tie his career high for the Buckeyes, which he set in a four-set win over Loyola Chicago during the 2017-18 season.
Thomas said the offensive production has a lot more to do with the hitters than his own play.
“The 60 assists is a lot on the hitters,” Thomas said. “It’s a testament to them. I have good hitters around me.”
Kills by Talley, Hanes and redshirt sophomore outside hitter Tyler Alter gave Ohio State a 13-9 lead early in the third set. The Buckeyes extended their lead to as many as eight points leading to a 25-17 third set victory, forcing a fourth set.
The Buckeyes were firing on all cylinders in the third set, hitting at a .818 clip with zero attack errors and five service errors, their lowest error in a set all night.
But the fourth set led to relapse, as Ohio State committed six attack and six service errors.
Lindenwood jumped out to a 20-16 lead in the fourth set thanks to a four-point run including kills by Swartz and senior middle blocker Connor Hipelius. The Lions rode the four-point margin to match point, at which point Leeson committed his first and only service error, handing the Lions a 25-20 set victory and a 3-1 match triumph.
Ohio State will try to split the weekend against Quincy at 7 p.m. on Saturday at St. John Arena.