Ohio State men’s volleyball has lost five of its past six games, but will try to stop the bleeding on the road this weekend.
Ohio State (9-6) begins a two-day road battle Friday against Quincy (4-11) and Saturday against Lindenwood (9-6).
Ohio State head coach Kevin Burch said he is relying on his team to be consistent in blocks this weekend, especially against Quincy senior outside hitter Omari Wheeler. Wheeler has 169 total kills so far this season and leads the team with 190.5 match points.
“He’s done really well against us in the past. He’s incredibly athletic and a very smart hitter, so he’ll definitely be our main focus this weekend,” Burch said. “Our guys just need to make sure that they have four hands in front of him at all times.”
Ohio State defeated Quincy in both matchups between the teams this past season. The one game that Wheeler played in, he tallied 20 kills –– 11 more than the next highest total on the team.
Although Ohio State and Lindenwood have an identical season record, the Lions defeated Purdue and Loyola two weeks ago, while the Buckeyes suffered two back-to-back four-set losses against those teams this past weekend.
Ohio State freshman Tim Baldwin is the team’s top opposite hitter from the right side, with 41 kills this season. This title differentiates Baldwin from Ohio State’s leading outside hitters on the left side, juniors Tyler Alter and Martin Lallemand and senior Reese Devilbiss.
“Lindenwood will be a challenge, but I think we’re just as much of a challenge to them as they are to us,” Baldwin said. “I think my team is counting on me to be strong on the right side and hit the ball as hard as I possibly can. We already have a lot of good outside hitters, so I think the opposite side is where they need me to be.”
The Buckeyes are tied with Lindenwood in total team kills with 643, while both teams overpower Quincy’s 560. The Buckeyes have 53 aces and 487 digs, the Hawks have 51 and 518 and the Lions have 95 and 445.
Lindenwood freshman outside hitter A.J. Lewis leads the team with 161 kills this season.
Ohio State’s matchup with Quincy begins at 8 p.m. Friday in Illinois, and the Lindenwood matchup is scheduled for 8:30 p.m. Saturday in Missouri.