Jonathan Bates | Associate Editor
The best Ohio State players at their positions during the decade are receiving a college men’s volleyball honor.
Off the Block announced on Thursday the seven players selected to the Ohio State All-Decade Starting Lineup presented by Off the Block.
The All-Decade Starting Lineup recognizes the best players to compete with a team since 2010. Similar to the starting lineup for a match, the All-Decade honor is comprised of a setter, opposite and libero along with two outside attackers and two middle attackers. In addition, three players have been added as bench players to make up a total of 10 roster spots.
The Off the Block staff determined the All-Decade Starting Lineup using a variety of factors including career statistical performance and the team’s overall success when a player was a member of the program.
This is also part of a series from Off the Block to celebrate the end of the decade in college men’s volleyball. Off the Block throughout the rest of 2019 will release an All-Decade Starting Lineup for every NCAA Division I-II men’s volleyball team.
Ohio State made the NCAA tournament five times this decade, and won the national championship three times – 2011, 2016, and 2017.
Off the Block is a national award-winning website that was established in 2011 and is the nation’s leader in college men’s volleyball.
Ohio State All-Decade Team Presented by Off the Block
Setter: Christy Blough
Opposite: Shawn Sangrey
Outside attacker: Nicolas Szerszen
Outside attacker: Michael Henchy
Middle attacker: Blake Leeson
Middle attacker: Driss Guessous
Libero: Gabriel Domecus
Off the bench: Miles Johnson, Steven Kehoe, Maxime Hervoir
Christy Blough (2014-17)
Awards and honors this decade: 2015 All-MIVA Second Team, 2016 All-MIVA First Team, 2016 All-MIVA Tournament Team, 2016 All-American Second Team, 2017 All-MIVA First Team, 2017 All-MIVA Tournament Team, 2017 Big Ten Medal of Honor Winner, 2017 Elite 90 Winner, 2017 All-American Second Team, 2017 All-NCAA Tournament Team
Blough quarterbacked the Buckeyes to back-to-back national titles in 2016 and 2017. His 4,280 career assists ranks No. 5 in program history, while his 10.86 assists per game ranks No. 8. The current medical school student and former Ohio State men’s volleyball volunteer coach ranked in the top five nationally in assists per game in his final three seasons, topping out at No. 2 in 2016 with 11.21 assists per game. The Buckeyes ranked No. 2 nationally with a .350 attack percentage and .365 attack percentage in 2016 and 2017 respectively.
Shawn Sangrey (2009-12)
Awards and honors this decade: 2010 All-MIVA First Team, 2010 All-MIVA Tournament Team, 2010 All-American Honorable Mention, 2011 All-MIVA First Team, 2011 All-MIVA Tournament Team, 2011 All-NCAA Tournament Team, 2012 All-MIVA First Team, 2012 MIVA Player of the Year, 2012 All-MIVA Tournament Team, 2012 All-American First Team
Sangrey’s 548 kills in 2012 ranks as third-best in program history for kills in a single season, while his 5.03 kills per set that season ranks as eighth-best. That 5.03 kills per game also was tops in the nation that year, while his .277 attack percentage also led the team. His 1,441 career kills and 4.14 kills per game average both rank No. 4 in program history. His 103 career aces and 0.30 aces per game both rank No 7 in program history.
Nicolas Szerszen (2015-18)
Awards and honors: 2015 MIVA Freshman of the Year, 2015 All-MIVA First Team, 2015 All-American Honorable Mention, 2016 MIVA Player of the Year, 2016 All-MIVA First Team, 2016 All-MIVA Tournament, 2016 MIVA Tournament Most Outstanding Player, 2016 All-American First Team, 2016 National Player of the Year, 2016 All-NCAA Tournament, 2017 All-MIVA First Team, 2017 MIVA Player of the Year, 2017 All-MIVA Tournament, 2017 All-American First Team, 2017 All-NCAA Tournament, 2017 NCAA Tournament Most Outstanding Player, 2018 All-MIVA First Team, 2018 MIVA Player of the Year, 2018 All-MIVA Tournament, 2018 MIVA Tournament Most Outstanding Player, 2018 All-American First Team, 2018 All-NCAA Tournament
Where do you start with a player who is likely to receive serious consideration for Player of the Decade? He never ranked outside of the top four nationally in terms of aces per game during his final three seasons as a Buckeye. In fact, he has the top three marks for most aces and most aces per game in a single season in program history. He never ranked outside of the top-twelve nationally in terms of attack percentage and kills per game during his final three seasons. He twice had six aces in a single match, which ties for fifth best in program history for most aces in a single match. His 513 kills in Player of the Year season ranks No. 4 in program history for most kills in a single season. His 783 career digs ranks No. 3 in program history while his .373 career attack percentage ranks No. 11. If all of this isn’t enough to convince you that Szerszen is the best men’s volleyball player in program history, maybe the fact his 1,678 kills ranks as best, regardless of era. On top of that, his 238 career aces is 78 more than the player with the second most in program history.
Michael Henchy (2012-15)
Awards and honors: 2012 All-MIVA Tournament Team, 2013 All-MIVA First Team, 2015 All-MIVA First Team, 2015 All-American Honorable Mention
Henchy’s .352 attack percentage ranked No. 9 in the nation in 2013, helping the Buckeyes ro rank No. 8 in the nation with a .291 team attack percentage. Henchy’s 40 aces in 2015 still ranks as tied for No. 13 in program history for most aces in a single season, while his .37 aces per game in 2015 ties for 16th best in program history. His 1,001 career kills ranks No. 16 in program history, while his 88 career aces ranks No. 9 in program history.
Blake Leeson (2016-19)
Awards and honors: 2016 All-MIVA Honorable Mention, 2016 NCAA All-Tournament Team, 2017 NCAA All-Tournament Team, 2018 All-MIVA Second Team, 2019 All-MIVA First Team
The four-year starter started in an amazing 125 of 126 matches. He started the 2016 NCAA Tournament with seven blocks versus George Mason, and clinched the title for Buckeyes versus BYU with the final kill of the match. He led Buckeyes in blocks per game in each of his four seasons in Columbus. His .453 career attack percentage ranks No. 5 in program history, while his 62 solo blocks and 395 total blocks both ranks No. 7 in program history.
Driss Guessous (2014-17)
Awards and honors: 2014 MIVA Freshman of the Year, 2014 All-MIVA First Team, 2014 All-American Second Team, 2017 All-MIVA Second Team, 2017 All-American Honorable Mention, 2017 All-NCAA Tournament Team
As a freshman, he ranked No. 3 nationally with a .446 attack percentage, while his .473 attack percentage as a senior ranks No. 7 in program history. His 30 block solos in 2017 ranks No. 7 in program history. He finished his Buckeye career with 70 solo blocks (No. 4 in program history) and a .449 attack percentage (No. 5 in program history).
Gabriel Domecus (2014-17)
Awards and honors: 2016 All-MIVA Second Team, 2016 All-American Honorable Mention, 2016 All-MIVA Second Team, 2017 All-American Honorable Mention
His 21 digs in a 2015 match versus Lewis ranks in the top ten in program history for most digs in a single match. His 250 digs in 2016 ranks No. 4 in program history for most digs in a single season. His 839 career digs and his 1.93 digs per game rank No. 2 and No. 10 respectively in program history.