Following a home loss to Lewis on Thursday, Ohio State bounced back with a three-set win over McKendree in the Covelli Center Saturday night.
No. 14 Ohio State (9-4) defeated the McKendree Bearcats (7-6) in straight sets (25-20, 29-27, 25-23) to stop a three-game losing skid.
Junior outside hitter Martin Lallemand led the Buckeyes with 14 kills, four coming in the third set. That total included a crucial kill that separated a 23-23 tie, propelling the Buckeyes to a 25-23 win.
“If you control the pace of play and momentum, you’re just going to be hitting the whole game,” Lallemand said. “There’s nothing stopping you. When you’re on fire, you’re on fire, and it’s really hard to stop.”
Following a dominant first set, Ohio State fell behind 12-15 midway through the second.
A surge saw back-and-forth scoring, as the Buckeyes and Bearcats tied at 26. However, Ohio State shut the door with a 3-1 run, finalized by two kills by freshman middle blocker Samuel Clark to lift the Buckeyes to a 29-27 set victory.
The turbulence of the second set continued into the third. Ohio State endured a 6-0 Bearcat run midway through, responding with their own 5-0 streak to regain control of the match and end the contest.
“The way we played against Lewis wasn’t our style,” Burch said. “It was just we have to bring a lot more focus to get back to where we were, and this was a big match to see it work against a good team like McKendree.”
Freshman setter Michael Wright moved the ball in rhythm with 39 assists –– 14 of which came in the first set.
“We responded super well,” Wright said. “I’m proud of the guys. It feels great.”
Wright said that the swings were much better than on Thursday, and that the early momentum helped the confidence of the Buckeyes.
McKendree junior outside hitter Patrick Ross spearheaded the Bearcat attack with 15 kills, keeping McKendree within striking range of Ohio State in the third set, but errors ultimately stunted the team.
With 18 attack errors, opportunities often turned disastrous for the Bearcats, and the Buckeyes profited off of inaccurate attempts.
Ohio State will travel to face Loyola Chicago Friday.