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Men’s Volleyball: No. 13 Buckeyes expect a challenge against Ivy League foe Princeton

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The Ohio State men’s volleyball team huddles together during the Ohio State-Maryville match Friday. Ohio State won 3-0. Credit: Katie Good | Asst. Photo Editor

The No. 13 Ohio State men’s volleyball will fight to continue its three-match win streak against Princeton after not competing against it in seven years.

The Tigers come to the Covelli Center Thursday and Friday at 7 p.m. to play against the Buckeyes. The last time the two teams have been on the court together was in 2016, when the Buckeyes won in a sweep 3-0.

Junior outside hitter Jacob Pasteur said “it’s a give and take” playing against the same team twice in a row, and it can be both an advantage and disadvantage.

Princeton won the Eastern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association conference title in the 2019 and 2022 seasons. The Tigers also earned spots in the 2019 and 2022 NCAA Tournaments.

Head coach Kevin Burch said the Tigers will be “a measuring bar” to see where the Buckeyes stack up so far this season.

“Princeton is definitely a test for us,” Burch said.

Tigers junior outside hitter Ben Harrington boasts powerful offensive skills the Buckeyes will need to be prepared for, totaling 56 service aces to finish third in the EIVA last season.

Pasteur said one swing leads to just one point, so Ohio State must push past the offensive line and “try and win in other ways.”

Last week, Burch and the Buckeyes started four freshmen, including redshirt freshmen middle blocker Ben Braun and libero Grant Strong, for both matches against Maryville and Missouri S&T.

The freshmen will still be needed in upcoming matches. Freshman opposite hitter Shane Wetzel will be used as a service substitution for the consistency and power in his serves, and other freshmen, like outside hitter Jack O’Riordan, will be in line for substitution when needed throughout the match.

Burch said he hopes for better consistency with serves on the court, after there were 34 service misses last weekend against the Saints and Miners.

Pasteur said the Buckeyes will continue to work on their communication with one another while competing against a team like Princeton.

“It’s about letting everyone know you’re on the same page,” Pasteur said.

The Buckeyes will match up against Princeton beginning Thursday at 7 p.m. Big Ten Network Plus will broadcast.

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