Late-game comeback lifts Saint Francis past No. 13 Ohio State

Photo courtesy of Saint Francis athletics

There wasn’t much that went wrong offensively for All-EIVA middle attacker Joshua Blair.

It was so nearly flawless that it helped propel Saint Francis to its biggest win of the season.

Blair had zero errors and a season-high 14 kills on a .700 attack percentage as Saint Francis rallied to beat No. 13 Ohio State 17-25, 25-20, 28-26, 25-22 on Saturday in Loretto, Pennsylvania.

The middle attacker had a combined eight kills in the final two games, including the match-winning kill in the fourth game and two kills in a third-game comeback win.


Saint Francis (12-6, 6-2 EIVA) trailed the third game 24-21 before a kill from middle attacker Thomas Leahey and then two Ohio State attack errors with Leahey at the service line forced overtime. Blair in the overtime had a kill to fight off a game-point and then on the next play had another kill as part of a 4-1 run that closed out the game.

The Red Flash also trailed the fourth game 21-19 but went on a 6-1 run to complete the upset. Leahey in the late-game run had an ace and served for four of Saint Francis’ points.

Setter AJ Schmidt guided the Saint Francis offense to an .354 attack percentage – more than .100 percentage points better than the team’s season average.

Along with Blair’s errorless performance, Leahey had eight kills and zero errors on a .533 attack percentage. Outside attacker Blake Liprando added 13 kills and hit .367, while freshman opposite Nahtan Zini had 10 kills.

Ohio State (9-8, 3-3 MIVA) opened the match hitting .500 in its first-game win and finished with a .331 attack percentage.

The Buckeyes despite the loss had three players finish with at least 15 kills, including opposite Jacob Pasteur who had a match-high 17 kills.

The Red Flash entered this match 2-31 all-time against the Buckeyes with their last win in the series coming in 2019. That win three years ago also was the second to last time Saint Francis defeated a nationally ranked team.