- #1 Long Beach State def. #5 Ohio State, 3-1 (25-22, 25-23, 25-27, 32-30)
- LBSU improves to 27-1; OSU’s season ends at 25-6
- Los Angeles, California
- Box score
LOS ANGELES, Calif. – The fans inside Pauley Pavilion were treated to a hyper-competitive match that featured 47 tie scores and 14 lead changes, as expected from two conference winners. The two-time defending champion Buckeyes, however, could not keep leads in sets 2 and 4, resulting in a 3-1 win for Big West Champion Long Beach State, 3-1 (25-22, 25-23, 25-27, 32-30). The 49ers now advance to the championship match on Saturday at 7 p.m. Eastern Time, which will be nationally televised on ESPN2.
Long Beach was led by Kyle Ensing, whose double-double (20 kills, 10 digs) led the way for the 49ers. He also added 3 blocks and an ace. His partner in crime, 2017 AVCA National Player of the Year TJ DeFalco, also brought a double-double to the mix with 16 kills, 10 digs and 3 blocks. No other LBSU player had more than 6 kills. Middle blocker Nick Amado finished with a match-high 5 blocks. Current AVCA Player of the Year Josh Tuaniga ran the efficient offense (.339) with 42 assists, 5 kills, 4 digs, a team-high 2 aces and a block. It was the 26th time this season that Long Beach hit over .300 for the match. Libero Jordan Molina played the part of floor general with a team-high 11 digs.
This is the first time since 2004 that Long Beach is making an appearance in the National Championship. LBSU’s only national championship in men’s volleyball came in 1991.
For Ohio State, it was their third straight match of “win-or-go-home”, with their previous wins coming against King in the play-in match in straight sets and at-large qualifier UC Irvine in the first round in five sets. Redshirt freshman pin attacker Jake Hanes led all attackers with 21 kills, 6 digs, a match-high 4 aces and a block. In the two tournament matches in Los Angeles against UC Irvine and Long Beach State, Hanes pounded a combined 43 kills and 12 aces. He was joined, on cue, by all-American seniors Maxime Hervoir (17 kills, .412, 11 digs, 3 blocks) and Nicolas Szerszen (16 kills, .452, match-high 12 digs, 2 aces). No other Buckeye had more than 4 kills. Junior setter Sanil Thomas ran the offense to a .326 clip with a match-high 51 assists to go along with his 9 digs, 2 blocks and an ace. Middle blocker Blake Leeson led all Buckeye net defenders with 4 total blocks.
Ohio State saw the end of an epic run of success. The Buckeyes, winners of the last two national championships, have gone 89-10 in the last three seasons. In Nicolas Szerszen‘s career, the Buckeyes have gone a ridiculous 111-19.
Long Beach State now advances on to the final on Saturday against the winner of the match between 2-seed BYU and 3-seed UCLA, who bested Harvard in four sets Tuesday evening.
Courtesy of Long Beach State Athletics
LOS ANGELES — In an epic battle with No. 6 Ohio State, top-ranked Long Beach State earned a 3-1 [25-22, 25-23, 25-27, 32-30] victory to knock off the two-time defending National Champions and advance to the National Championship match on Saturday, May 5 at 4 p.m. inside Pauley Pavilion. The contest will be televised on ESPN2.
Long Beach State (27-1) will play the winner of the No. 2 BYU/No. 3 UCLA match for the National Title. The Beach will make their seventh appearance in the National Championship match, and first since 2004. LBSU is 1-5 in National Championship matches with its lone win coming in 1991.
The Beach earned the victory with a gritty performance as they hit .339 behind a pair of double-doubles from Kyle Ensing and TJ DeFalco. Ensing knocked down a season-high 20 kills in the match as he added 10 digs for his third double-double of the season. Meanwhile, DeFalco tallied a 16-kill, 10-dig effort for his fifth double-double of the year.
Ohio State (25-6) posted a solid effort and pushed Long Beach State to the brink in the fourth set as the Buckeyes received a 21-kill performance from Jake Hanes, to go along with a pair of double-doubles by Nicolas Szerszen (16 kills, 12 digs) and Maxime Hervoir (17 kills, 11 digs).
LBSU was led, once again, by National Player of the Year Josh Tuaniga who dished out 42 assists in the match to pace the offense. With Tuaniga’s solid passes, the Beach hit over .300 for the 26th time this season.
Tuaniga led the Beach in all facets of the game as he added five kills on .444 hitting (5-1-9), with four digs, and one block.
With the offense clicking for the Beach, the defense also stepped up as junior libero Jordan Molina notched 11 digs, while redshirt junior middle blocker Nick Amado posted five blocks.
As a team, Long Beach State recorded 10.0 total blocks as Bjarne Huus added four (1 solo, 3 block assists), while Ensing, DeFalco, and Simon Anderson tallied three block assists apiece.
Long Beach State started the match off strong winning the first two sets. The Beach took the first set, 25-22, after hitting .316 and limiting the Buckeyes to a .190 attack percentage. LBSU broke a few early ties and opened the match up with an 8-5 lead highlighted by a kill off the hands of Huus. The Beach held the lead the rest of the way, despite the Buckeyes pulling within one (21-20) late in the frame, and went on to win by three.
Despite falling behind 5-1 to start the second set, the Beach bounced back and utilized their highest attack percentage in the frame as they hit .481 knocking down 14 kills on 27 swings and committing just two errors. Long Beach State chipped away at Ohio State’s early lead and evened the score at 17-all on a kill by DeFalco.
After the Buckeyes regained their lead, the Beach fought back and took a 22-21 lead on a double block by Amado and Ensing forcing an Ohio State timeout. Long Beach State would go on to put the set away, 25-23 on back-to-back kills by Ensing and Huus to take a 2-0 set lead into the third.
The third set began close as the two teams fought through eight ties before Ohio State used a 7-0 run to take an 18-12 lead forcing a Long Beach State timeout. Just when the game looked to be out of reach, the Beach used a 7-1 run of their own to even the score at 20-20. However, the Buckeyes managed to jump out in front again, and after five ties, would edge out the Beach, 27-25, to force a fourth set.
Long Beach State and Ohio State battled it out again in the fourth set as the two teams fought through a total of 20 ties and seven lead changes. With the set tied at 23-23, a Buckeye’s service error sent it to match point for the Beach. Long Beach State would push it to match point seven times before back-to-back kills from Ensing and Tuaniga would win the set and match by a score of 32-30.
The Beach and the Buckeyes four-set battle saw a total of 46 ties and 14 lead changes.
Long Beach State will play for the National Championship on Saturday, May 5 at 4 p.m. on ESPN2.
Courtesy of Ohio State Athletics
LOS ANGELES – For the second time in three days, Ohio State Men’s Volleyball was embedded in a dogfight with ‘win or go home’ implications on the line. The second scuffle did not go in favor of the Buckeyes (25-6), however, as top-seeded Long Beach State (27-1) advanced to the NCAA Finals in four sets (25-22, 25-23, 25-27, 32-30). Ohio State had entered the contest as winners of 16 consecutive postseason matches, including seven NCAA Tournament victories in a row.
“We had walked out the door last year and had to put some new faces and new young men on the floor,” Pete Hanson, head coach, said. “I’m very proud of what they’ve accomplished, how they handled themselves, how they competed in this tournament and I think the future is very bright for Ohio State Volleyball. I’m really proud of those young men.”
After besting UC Irvine in Tuesday’s five-set Quarterfinals by four total points, just five tallies separated the Buckeyes from Long Beach State in the Semifinals. The -1 cumulative ledger is indicative of the week’s back-and-forth pattern of action.
The All-American duo of Maxime Hervoir and Nicolas Szerszen combined for 33 kills and each attacked at a rate north of .400 while cracking double-digit digs. Both were responsible for 18.5 points. Jake Hanes was not quite as efficient with his .234 hitting percentage, but he shouldered a larger point-scoring load. He drilled a match-high 21 kills and four aces following a 22-kill, 8-ace performance against UC Irvine.
The lone ‘non-deuce’ set of the evening came first when Long Beach State won by three points, 25-22. Four Beach blocks were pivotal, including a stuff for the 25th point.
Ohio State raced out to a 5-1 lead to beigin set number two. That four-point cushion remained at 13-9 before LBSU flipped the script and went on an 8-4 spurt to even the score at 17-17. Stalemate maintained until a 23-23 knotting was erased by back-to-back Beach kills.
While Hanes had begun to heat up a bit in the second stanza, sizzled in the third. His eight kills on 14 error-free attempts were flanked by nine kills for the Hervoir-Szerszen combo. A quick glance at the Set 3 stat sheet would lead one to believe Ohio State waltzed on through. That was not the case though, spilling over into extra points. The Buckeyes called timeout down 11-10 and immediately responded by rattling off eight of nine and seven straight with Blake Leesonmanning the service stripe. A 10-3 run the other way erased all hopes of an easy walk to the fourth though. Ohio State did not allow the blown lead to alter the ultimate objective, pushing the match into a fourth set with a 27-25 triumph.
Chaos, mixed with a large helping of resiliency came next. Action extended to OT once again. Ohio State staved off a half dozen LBSU match-point opportunities before finally succumbing to defeat on the 49ers seventh try. Setter and 2018 National Player of the Year, Joshua Tuaniga, called his own number from the back row and perfectly placed a dump dropping in front of the diving OSU back court to seal the deal 32-20.