Setter Michael Wright in a span of two months went from being on the Ohio State bench to now being fully in the starting lineup and bringing the Buckeyes back to the conference finals.
Wright had 48 assists and guided the offense to a .451 attack percentage as Ohio State defeated McKendree 25-20, 21-25, 25-9, 25-15 in the MIVA Tournament semifinals on Wednesday in Columbus, Ohio.
Ohio State en route to its second straight postseason match with at least .400 attack percentage hit better than .500 in each of the final two games. In addition, the Buckeyes had three players with double-digit kills against McKendree.
Freshman opposite Shane Wetzel led all players with 19 kills, including 12 kills in the final two games following McKendree’s second-game win. Outside attacker Jacob Pasteur added 16 kills and hit .444, while outside attacker Jack Stevens had 11 kills and zero errors on a .550 attack percentage.
Pasteur also had a match-high four aces and was the server for the majority of the points during the Buckeyes’ 14-1 run to open the third game. The outside attacker started the run with the kill and then capped off that run with back-to-back aces.
McKendree was limited to a .172 attack percentage and hit a match-worst negative-.059 in the final game.
Outside attacker Kyle Wilson in the loss had a team-high 11 kills. The Buckeyes also served Wilson a match-high 42 times, and the outside attacker had a 95.5 successful passing percentage.
McKendree was the first No. 7 seed in conference history to reach the MIVA Tournament semifinals. The team pulled off a five-game upset against the No. 2 seed Loyola in the quarterfinals.
Ohio State with this win will travel to play the No. 1 seed Ball State in the MIVA Tournament finals on Saturday. The defending MIVA champions Ball State swept Lewis in its semifinals match on Wednesday.
This will be the first meeting between Ball State and Ohio State in the MIVA Tournament finals since 2009.
The Cardinals and Buckeyes during the regular season split their home-and-home series with both teams winning on their home court.