Barton falls to No. 1 Ohio State in straight sets

by Cory Guinn

COLUMBUS, OHIO Playing without three members of its starting lineup, the Barton College men's volleyball team fell victim to the No. 1 ranked Buckeyes of Ohio State University in a 3-0 (25-21, 25-14, 25-17) loss on Friday night in the Ohio State Invitational.

The Buckeyes, winners of 31 consecutive matches, improved to 8-0 on the season while the Bulldogs fell to 3-2 with the team's second straight loss.

In the first set of play, Barton went ahead early 10-7 before Ohio State took 11 of the next 15 points to build an 18-14 lead. However, the Bulldogs rallied for three straight points to trail by one before the Buckeyes closed out the set with a five-point win.

Reigning AVCA Player of the Year Nicolas Szerszen opened the second set of play with a kill and OSU never trailed. Szerszen and setter Sanil Thomas combined for the final five kills of frame to give the Buckeyes a two-set lead.

The Bulldogs once again led early in the third set at a 7-6 tally before Ohio State responded with 11 unanswered points to take the lead and build its advantage to a 17-7 margin. Sophomore Nick Leary looked to spark a BC rally with a kill and back-to-back service aces but the OSU lead was too much to overcome.

Barton was limited to a .106 hitting mark thanks in large part to 12 total blocks at the net by Ohio State. In contrast, the host hit .413 as a team, led by 11 kills apiece form Szerszen and Miles Johnson.

Sophomore Vasilis Mandilaris led the BC attack with 10 kills and a .241 hitting percentage to go along with five digs. Fellow sophomore Michael Tyler finished with five kills and a team-high six digs, while senior Jonathan Novoa-Miralles chipped in five kills of his own.

The Bulldogs have a quick turnaround as they play Saint Francis (Pa.) University tomorrow in the final day of the Ohio State Invitational at 5 p.m.