Ohio State junior Nicolas Szerszen was named the Most Outstanding Player of the 2017 NCAA NC Men’s Championship tournament after leading the Buckeyes to their 2nd-straight national title on Saturday evening.
In Ohio State’s two games played at the final site, Szerszen scored 26 kills in 6 sets and hit .447 on 47 swings. He added 5 assists, 5 aces, 16 digs, and 2 blocks over the two-game set.
To the victors went the spoils in the all-tournament dream team. Ohio State had 5 of the 7 players on the squad, with BYU and Hawaii picking up one player each. Long Beach State, the other semi-final team, was shut out.
Next year could be a rebuilding year for Ohio State. After returning 6 of 7 starters from their 2016 championship team, the Buckeyes will graduate Blough, national active kills leader Miles Johnson, and starting middle blocker Driss Guessous.
The Buckeyes will, however, return the Most Outstanding Player of this tournament Szerszen, according to head coach Pete Hanson. In spite of the pull of the professional league in his native France, Hanson says that Szerszen plans to stay for his final season of collegiate eligibility before turning pro.
His 1,275 career kills vaults him up to 8th on Ohio State’s all-time career list, and with an injury-free senior season is well within Steve Potter’s program record of 1,602.
His 178 career aces is already easily the most in Ohio State history. The graduating Johnson finishes his career 2nd with 161, and the leader coming into the season was Potter at just 123. Szerszen has the chance to make that record nearly untouchable.
He’s also 16th in career digs, and 8th in total career points with 1,540. He needs 343.5 points to match Steve Porter’s career total in that category – which is a near-givven after seasons of 388, 611, and 541 in his freshman, sophomore, and junior seasons, respectively.
ALL-NCAA TOURNAMENT TEAM
- Nicolas Szerszen, Ohio State, OH, Jr. – Most Outstanding Player (6 sets played, 26 kills, .447 hitting percentage, 5 assists, 5 aces, 16 digs, 2 blocks)
- Christy Blough, Ohio State, Setter, Sr. (6 sets played, 3 kills, 66 assists, 2 aces, 4 digs, 3 blocks)
- Driss Guessous, Ohio State, MB, RS Sr. (6 sets played, 12 kills, .563 hitting percentage, 1 assist, 5 blocks)
- Maxime Hervoir, Ohio State, OH, Jr. (6 sets played, 17 kills, .452 hitting percentage, 1 assist, 1 aces, 8 blocks)
- Blake Leeson, Ohio State, MB, RS So. (6 sets played, 5 kills, .400 hitting percentage, 2 assists, 1 ace, 9 blocks)
- Brendan Sander, BYU, OH, Jr. (9 sets played, 33 kills, .397 hitting percentage, 3 assists, 2 aces, 2 digs, 12 blocks)
- Stijn van Tilburg, Hawaii, Opposite, Soph. (8 sets played, 33 kills, .267 hitting percentage, 1 assist, 6 blocks)