Men's volleyball Final Four preview: Ohio St.

No. 1 men's volleyball continues its march to the NCAA Championship as it hosts tenth-ranked and No. 4 seed Ohio State University in the second semifinal of the NCAA Final Four at 8:00 p.m. Thursday at Maples Pavilion.

The match will be televised on ESPNU. No. 2 seed CSU Northridge plays No. 3 seed Penn State in the first semifinal at 6:00pm. The winner of each semifinal will meet in the championship on Saturday at 4:00 p.m. at Maples.

Ohio State was 11-1 in MIVA conference play and 22-7 overall, earning its NCAA bid by winning both the MIVA regular season and conference tournament titles. Ohio State rallied from a 2-1 deficit to defeat Loyola-Chicago in five games in the MIVA Tournament Final to secure the automatic NCAA Midwest bid.

Ohio State had little luck against MPSF teams during the 2010 regular season, losing to Hawaii and USC in the preseason, and losing to UC Santa Barbara during the regular season. Ohio State also played NCAA semifinalist Penn State three times during the 2010 season, losing twice 0-3 and winning once 3-1. Ohio State is 1-7 vs. Stanford all-time and is guided by the 2010 MIVA co-Coach of the Year, Pete Hanson, now in his 26th year at Ohio State as head coach.

Ohio State is led by setter and 2010 Second Team All-American and MIVA Player of the Year Steven Kehoe (6'4" S., RS-Jr.), the younger brother of Stanford WVB great Bryn Kehoe. Kehoe averaged 13.59 assists per game in conference play. The frequent target of Kehoe's sets is 2010 Second Team All-American Shawn Sangrey (6'5" RS/OPP, So.), among the national leaders in both kills and aces.

Good volleyball genes are also a factor for Libero Mik Berzins (6'2" L, So.). Mik's father Aldis was an All-American OH for Ohio State in 1977 and 1978, an important member of the 1984 Olympic gold medal men's volleyball team, and an Ohio State Athletic Hall of Fame inductee.

Ohio State placed four players on the MIVA All-Tournament Team, led by Most Outstanding Player Ted Shoenfeldt (6'5" OPP, Sr.), John Klanac (6'6" OH, RS-Jr.), Shawn Sangrey, and Steven Kehoe. Joining Ohio State's Kehoe on the 2010 MIVA All-Conference First Team were John Klanac and Shawn Sangrey. Kevin Heine (6'5" MH, RS-Jr.) was named to the Second Team.

Ted Schoenfeldt was named both MIVA and AVCA National Player of the Week on May 3, and Steven Kehoe was named MIVA and AVCA National Player of the Week on March 22. In addition, Mik Berzins was named MIVA Defensive Player of the Week three times, and Shawn Sangrey MIVA Offensive Player of the Week four times during the 2010 season.

Ohio State has a strong volleyball tradition, having been a part of the MIVA since its formation in 1961, and having won the MIVA conference title 19 times and the MIVA tournament 11 times. This will be Ohio State's 15th appearance in the NCAA Final Four, having also appeared in 1975, 1976, 1977, 1978, 1980, 1981, 1982, 1983, 1986, 1987, 1993, 2000, 2001 and 2005. Ohio State was the first non-West Coast team to make the NCAA Finals in 1977. Ohio State also reached the Finals in 2000, but has never won an NCAA Championship.

Don is a Stanford graduate, Class of 1979, and former member of the Stanford men's volleyball team, having played for coaches Art Lambert and Fred Sturm. Don will be cheering on the team with several of his former teammates at the game.

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