- #1 Ohio State def. #2 UCLA 3-1 (25-22, 18-25, 25-21, 25-23)
- Ohio State moves to 2-0, UCLA falls to 2-1
- St. John Arena, Columbus, Ohio
- Attendance: 1,430
- Match Stats
The atmosphere in St. John’s Arena in Columbus, Ohio on Saturday was NCAA Championship-esque as the top-ranked and defending NCAA champion Ohio State Buckeyes defeated to the #2-ranked UCLA Bruins 3-1. The 1 v. 2 matchup was fitting of the weekend, where Ohio State took the court used in nearby Nationwide Arena that hosted the NCAA Women’s Championship last month and moved it to the on-campus St. John Arena to host the weekend’s loaded slate.
The win was Ohio State’s 25th-consecutive victory against NCAA opponents, dating back to a stunning 3-2 loss to Ball State at home on February 6th of last year. UCLA was one of only three teams to beat Ohio State in 2016 en route to the Buckeyes’ national title, but the Bruins had no such luck of pulling an upset this year.
The game, a rematch of last year’s NCAA semi-finals (won by the Buckeyes 3-2), saw Ohio State ride home-team momentum to an early 8-0 lead in the first set. The Bruins settled in to close the gap late in the set, but the Buckeyes were firmly in control throughout.
After the first sset point for the Buckeyes (at 24-16) though, UCLA built some momentum of their own by rattling off 6-straight points, 5 of which came on Buckeye mistakes. They carried that into set 2 where this time it was UCLA who built an early lead.
Ohio State, though, fought back, and eventually rallied to 8-6 and forced a UCLA time-out. After that, the scoring stabilized and the two teams traded points, until UCLA went on a run mid-way to take the score from 11-13 all the way to 21-14. Even though Ohio State used two timeouts in that streak, they couldn’t halt the Bruin momentum, and UCLA eventually tied the game 1-1.
Set 3 saw another early Bruin lead, but this time Ohio State but on the late run, scoring 7 straight points to lead at 21-18, and that was enough to hold on, with a Christy Blough kill-from-set finishing the frame.
While the first 3 sets were stories of scoring runs, set 4 was the most balanced of the day, with neither team able to rally more than 3 consecutive points. Ultimately, though, the Buckeyes led most of the way, and a hitting error by UCLA’s Jake Arnitz (who happened to be serving the final point in 3 of 4 sets) wrapped the day in favor of the home-team Ohio State.
Ohio State First-Team All-American Nicolas Szerszen led all players with 17 kills, doing so on just 26 swings for a .500 hitting percentage. As a team, the Buckeyes in hit .309 and held UCLA to just .256. That margin in spite of the Bruins having fewer attack errors (16-20) and out-blocking Ohio State (10-8). 7 of Ohio State’s 8 blocks were solo efforts, including 4 from Driss Guessous.
The aforementioned Arnitz carried the Bruins on the day, scoring 16 kills on 25 swings (.440 percentage) to go with 2 service aces and 3 blocks. His 19.5 total points made him the only UCLA player in double digits.
Courtesy Ohio State Athletics:
COLUMBUS, Ohio — In collegiate men’s volleyball’s main event of the opening weekend, No. 1 Ohio State (2-0) took down No. 2 UCLA (2-1) in an entertaining four-round scuffle broadcast live on the Big Ten Network. The Buckeyes wrapped up the weekend by topping UCLA — 25-22, 18-25, 25-21, 25-23.
Ohio State’s winning streak – dating back to Feb. 6, 2016 – extends to 25 straight victories. The Buckeye win also clinched a 3-1 win for the Big Ten in the second annual B1G/Pac-12 Challenge. Penn State split the weekend while OSU picked up dubs over both USC and UCLA.
Reigning National Player of the Year, Nicolas Szerszen, landed more than a handful of haymakers in the OSU triumph; totaling a team-high 19 points on 17 kills and two service aces. The sophomore attacked .500 and also paced the Buckeyes digging seven balls. His two aces contributed to a nine-ace team tally which included a run of three consecutive service snipes by Christy Blough.
Speaking of Blough, the senior setter dished out 38 assists in steering the Buckeye attack to a .309 hitting percentage. He directly lifted the hitting clip by terminating each of three attack attempts as well.
Courtesy UCLA Athletics:
Top-ranked Ohio State defeated No.2 UCLA in four sets to capture its 25th straight match on Saturday evening in the AVCA Showcase – Big Ten/Pac-12 Challenge being held at Columbus, Ohio, site of this year’s NCAA Men’s Volleyball Championships. Scores of the match were 22-25, 25-18, 21-25 23-25.
Jake Arnitz registered a team-high 16 kills, while hitting .440 to lead the attack. The Bruins will bring a 2-1 record back to Westwood and host No. 8 UC Irvine on Thursday night at 7:30 p.m. in Pauley in the MPSF opener. Ohio State improved to 2-0 on the season.
In set one, the Buckeyes blitzed out to an 0-8 lead. A kill by Micah Ma’a ended the shutout. The Bruins battled back to cut the deficit to 8-10 after a triple block by Ma’a, Arnitz and Oliver Martin. OSU used a tough serve to move back in front 11-16. A late charge, led by the serve of Arnitz, resulted in a 6-0 run and cut the margin to 22-24, but the Buckeyes soon tallied the set winner for a 22-25 decision.
UCLA jumped out to a 5-2 advantage to begin set two. OSU leveled the score at 6-all and went on to take a 6-8 lead. The Bruins tied the score at 13 on a block by Daenan Gyimah, Dylan Missry and Ma’a and then regained the lead, at 14-13, on an ace serve by Arnitz. A 7-0 scoring run left UCLA in front 21-14 and it closed out the set after a series of OSU errors for a 25-18 win.
Set three started out all Bruins with a 5-1 advantage. Ohio State then came back to even the score at 7-all. The Bruins took a 13-10 lead on a kill by Arnitz and led 17-13 following a Mitch Stahl kill. The Buckeyes’ serving game then helped them get back into the set and even the score at 18-all. OSU tallied seven straight points to go in front 18-21 and held on for a 21-25 win.
Ohio State opened up a 2-5 gap to begin set four. The Bruins rallied to tie the score at 8-all on a kill by Gyimah. OSU then regained the lead at 12-15. The Bruins closed to within one on several occasions, at 17-18 and again at 20-21 after kills by Arnitz. UCLA knotted the score at 22 after a Buckeye error, but returned the favor a couple of times down the stretch and OSU hung on for a 23-25 win.
Arnitz added two aces, five digs and three blocks. Missry recorded eight kills (.389) and tied his career-high with three blocks. Gyimah totaled five kills (.364), an ace and three block assists. Ma’a finished with four kills, five block assists and 19 set assists. Hagen Smith had seven digs and 13 set assists. Ohio State out hit the Bruins for the match by .381 to .256. UCLA won the blocking battle 10.0 to 8.0. The serving game went to the Buckeyes 9 to 4. UCLA had 18 service errors to 26 fo OSU.