Defending champs sweep Bobcats in season opener

Box score

COLUMBUS, Ohio --- The No. 8 and defending NCAA Division I national champion Ohio State University men's volleyball team posted a .299 hitting percentage en route to a straight-set sweep of Lees-McRae College on Friday night in St. John Arena.

Ohio State (2-2) hit a blistering .481 in the first set, holding Lees-McRae (0-1) to a .159 clip overall, and winning the match by scores of 25-19, 25-21, and 25-18. The Buckeyes recorded 39 assists and 29 digs on the night, as the Bobcats posted totals of 29 and 24, respectively.

Sophomore Jose Ribas paced the Bobcats with a match-high 11 kills, while John Lucas (Cincinnati, Ohio) and Joshua Jones (Christmas, Fla.) added six and five smashes, respectively. Randy Ramirez (Guaynabo, Puerto Rico) chipped in a contest-best 28 assists, while Efrain Negron (Orlando, Fla.) added nine digs.

Michael Henchy led the way for Ohio State with nine kills on 21 swings, while John Tholen added seven smashes and a .500 hitting percentage. Kyle Lawrence chipped in 25 assists and five digs, while Peter Heinen added 11 helpers of his own. Shawn Herron also posted seven kills on eight swings.

The Buckeyes jumped out to an early lead in the first set, opening the frame with a 6-3 run highlighted by a pair of Henchy service aces. Lees-McRae fought back with a 5-3 spurt, closing the gap to 9-8 before Ohio responded with an 8-5 run to snatch a 17-13 advantage on a Herron ace. Ohio State pushed the lead to 23-18 following a Bobcat miscue, before back-to-back kills by Henchy and Shawn Sangrey sealed the 25-19 victory.

After the sides exchanged points early in the second set, Nick Gibson buried a pair of kills before a Bobcat miscue gave the Buckeyes a 7-4 lead. Following a Lees-McRae kill that cut the advantage to 10-9, Ohio State stretched the margin to 14-11 on back-to-back smashes by Sangrey. The Buckeyes would hold on from there, closing out the set with a 25-21 win to claim a commanding 2-0 advantage in the match.

Ohio State opened the third set with a pair of 3-0 runs, claiming an early 7-3 advantage before pushing the margin to 14-8 following a Tholen kill. The Buckeyes then closed out the set with kills by Henchy and Grayson Overman, capping a 25-18 third-frame win.

Lees-McRae returns to the court on Saturday night when the Bobcats travel to Cincinnati, Ohio to take on NCAA Division III College of Mount St. Joseph at 7 p.m.

- LMC -