NCAA men: No. 1 Ohio State goes for 33 in a row, UCI, UCSD get victories

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Tanner Syftestad of UC San Diego goes all out for a ball against Princeton/Ed Chan, VBshots.com

Ohio State hopes it’s not like the Groundhog Day movie and history doesn’t repeat itself.

But on this Groundhog Day, the top-ranked Buckeyes (9-0) try to extend their winning streak to a school-record 33 matches when they play at No. 12 Ball State (8-1) on Thursday night. What’s more, this is the MIVA season opener for both teams.

There were a handful of NCAA men’s volleyball matches on Wednesday, including UC Irvine beating Cal Baptist in MPSF play, UC San Diego beating visiting Princeton and Belmont Abbey beat Lees-McRae in Conference Carolinas.

But first more on that Ohio State-Ball State match and the other matches on Thursday’s slate.

The last time Ohio State lost was last February — at Ball State. And the last time Ohio State won 32 matches in a row, over the 1969 and 1970 seasons, the streak ended — at Ball State. Which also happens to be the alma mater of Buckeyes coach Pete Hanson.

Ohio State has played Ball State more than any other opponent in program history. They’ve played 177 times since 1968 and Ohio State leads 94-83. Ball State is 36-30 in Muncie.

According to the Ohio State notes, Loyola won 40 in a row over the 2014-15 seasons, while UCLA is believed to own the all-time record of 47 from 1983 to 1985.

The teams split two matches last season.

You can see this one through this link at ballstatesports.com.

There’s a big one in the MPSF, where No. 9 Pepperdine (4-2, 2-1) is at No. 3 Long Beach State (7-2, 3-1).

There are two matches involving EIVA teams as NJIT goes to Rutgers-Newark for an all-New Jersey battle and Sacred Heart plays host to Alderson Broaddus.

No other MIVA teams are in action and Conference Carolinas is off.

Princeton setter Jonah May dives for a pancake against UCSD/Ed Chan, VBshots.com
Princeton setter Jonah May dives for a pancake against UCSD/Ed Chan, VBshots.com

Three in a row for Tritons: UC San Diego beat visiting Princeton of the EIVA 25-22, 25-19, 21-25, 25-21. It left the Tritons 3-5 after an 0-5 start, their first three-match winning streak since 2012.

Princeton is 2-4.

Tanner Syftestad had 21 kills for UCSD, the fourth time this season the junior opposite has had a match-high. He also hit .486, with only four errors in 35 swings.

“It felt really good tonight,” Syftestad said. “In the third set, we faltered a little bit, but our serving and passing was really strong tonight, it kept us in system, so we were able to get the middles going, and open up the pins really well. We didn’t do that as much in the third set.”

Senior outside Ian Colbert had 11 kills, hit .429, and had eight digs and two aces.

Freshman outside Xander Jimenez had eight kills, four digs and three blocks. Junior middle Alec Flowers had seven kills and hit .429.

UCSD hit .430, way over its previous best this season of .295.

“We’re keeping the confidence up, and being resilient,” UCSD coach Kevin Ring said. “We want to figuratively punch a team, and they punch back. It becomes a back and forth affair, and I thought we did that pretty well tonight. We had some leads, and we gave them up. Princeton came back, but we kept our composure and held the lead, and even increased our lead late at the end of sets.”

Corry Short of Princeton digs against UCSD/Ed Chan, VBshots.com
Corry Short of Princeton digs against UCSD/Ed Chan, VBshots.com

Parker Dixon and Greg Luck had 13 kills apiece to lead a balanced Princeton attack. Kendall Ratter added 12 kills and George Huhmann had 11. Junior Oboh had nine kills and he and Dixon, who .417, had three blocks each. Luck led with nine digs.

UCI beats Cal Baptist in four: The sixth-ranked Anteaters lost the first set but then cruised to a 27-29, 25-15, 25-17, 25-16 victory at Cal Baptist. It left UCI 8-3 overall and 5-2 in the MPSF, while Cal Baptist fell to 2-6, 1-6.

UCI, which held a .369 to .092 hitting advantage, were led by middle Matthew Younggren, who hit .636 with eight kills and also had a career-high seven blocks. Middle Andrew Benz also had eight kills and hit .533. And Thomas Hodges had a match-high 16 kills to go with five blocks.  Setter Michael Saeta had a big match, complementing his 34 assists with four aces, five digs and three blocks.

Cal Baptist got 12 kills from Kevin Vaz, but he hit .032. Enrique Garcia added nine kills and hit .500 and Paul Rohit had eight kills, but hit minus -.077.

Belmont Abbey gets first win: The Crusaders improved to 1-4 overall and 1-2 in ConfCarolinas with their 26-24, 18-25, 25-19, 25-21 victory. It left Lees-McRae 2-5, 0-2.

Liam Maxwell had 14 kills and Robert Nixon 13 for Belmont Abbey. David Radoszewski had nine digs and Aaron Dierkes had six blocks, one solo. It was not an accurate attacking affair, as Lees-McRae hit .128 and the home team .187.

John Sobel led the visitors with 19 kills and Mark Shayka added 10.

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