Szerszen Downs 17 as No. 7 Ohio State Edges No. 14 USC in Four

  0 Wendy Mayer | January 19th, 2018 | MIVA, MPSF, News


  • No. 7 Ohio State def. No. 14 USC 3-1 (25-16, 25-20, 20-25, 25-21)
  • Ohio State moves to 3-1; USC falls to 3-3
  • Los Angeles, California
  • Attendance: 300
  • Box Score


LOS ANGELES – The No. 7 Buckeyes served up 10 aces and used an efficient offense to move past No. 14 USC to open the AVCA Showcase on Thursday night.

In addition to outdoing the Trojans 10-3 from the service line, Ohio State posted a .327 hitting percentage and bested its foe 48-43 in kills and 9.5 to 8.5 in blocks. OSU boasted a side out percentage of 68 percent, while USC managed just 59 percent. Ohio State hit .275 or better in all four sets, while the Trojans struggled to find their footing in sets 1 and 4, hitting under .200 in each.

Senior outside hitter Nicolas Szerszen led the way for the Buckeyes with 17 kills on a team-best .517 hitting effort (17-2-29), while also adding three aces. Freshman outside Martin Lallemand chipped in 11 kills and four blocks, while senior outside Maxime Hervoir (8) and redshirt junior middle Blake Leeson (7) followed offensively. Leeson put up a team-leading five blocks, while Hervoir struggled offensively, hitting at a .043 clip.

Redshirt junior outside Jack Wyett downed a match-high 18 kills and hit .424 for the Trojans (18-4-33). Junior outside Ryan Moss also reached double-digit kills with 12 on a .348 effort and three blocks. Junior outside Gianluca Grasso was next on the team with six kills, but hit -.053 for the night (6-7-19). Freshman middle Sam Lewis notched a match-high five blocks and served up two of the team’s three aces.

Set 1 saw eight ties and three lead changes, but the middle two sets were dominated by one side or the other. The final 25-21 decision in Set 4 included four ties and the lead changed hands just once.

USC hit just .190 to Ohio State’s .409 effort in Set 1 and was outscored 10-3 down the final stretch, including two aces and a kill by Szerszen in a 5-0 set-capping run.

OSU jumped ahead 4-0 in Set 2 and never relinquished the lead. The Trojans cut the margin to one four times, but couldn’t even manage a tie the rest of the set, which ended on a USC service error.

After the intermission, USC found its footing, surging ahead 9-3 in Set 3 with help from three Buckeye errors and two kills and a block by Wyett. The Trojans held OSU at bay the rest of the way. The Buckeyes were within one at 19-18, but USC answered with a 6-2 run to wrap the 25-20 win. Three Moss kills and a two kills and a block by Grasso made up the final Trojan rally.

Trailing 6-1 and later 14-10 midway through Set 4, Ohio State finally broke through, scoring eight of the next 10 points to grab an 18-16 advantage. Kills by Jake Hanes, Szerszen and Hervoir and an ace by Shawn Hughes highlighted the rally. USC tied it up at 18, 19 and 20, but the Buckeyes maintained control as Szerszen and Hervoir chipped in two kills apiece. A pair of Hanes aces closed out the 25-21 victory and the match.



Courtesy: Ohio State Athletics

Nicolas Szerszen bounced seven of his 11 attack attempts for kills in the fourth set, sealing the deal in No. 3 Ohio State’s four-set victory over No. 13 Southern California (3-3). Jake Hanes acted as the final nail though, delivering back-to-back aces to close the door for good at 25-21 in the fourth (26-16, 25-20, 20-25, 25-21).

The Buckeyes (3-1) registered 10 aces in total, paced by Szerszen’s three service snipes. His 17 kills also represented a team high. Martin Lallemand cracked double-digit kills, too, good for 11 terminations at a .333 attacking clip. Redshirt juniors Aaron Samarin and Blake Leeson led the squad defensively with seven digs and five blocks, respectively.

SET 1: Sanil Thomas spread the ball around to five different hitters in the opening frame, distributing 11 assists in steering Ohio State to a .409 team hitting percentage. The Buckeyes were able to break away late in the set, going on an 11-4 run to end it with a final ledger of 25-16.

SET 2: Szerszen stepped to the baseline to start set number two, staying there until Ohio State jumped out to a 4-0 edge. The Buckeyes would never relinquish that lead as Leeson did the heavy lifting with a half dozen points (4 K, 1 BS, 2 BA) in the 25-20 winner.

SET 3: The next set was a mirror image of the previous. This time it was the Trojans going ahead immediately and never looking back in a 25-20 triumph of their own.

SET 4: USC remained in control midway through the fourth, owners of a 14-10 advantage. That’s when a Hanes kill ignited the Buckeye burst which included taking 15 of the next 22 rallies. Szerszen connected on four kills during the set’s second half before handing it off to Hanes for the final two tallies.

The AVCA Showcase (a.k.a. the Big Ten/Pac-12 Challenge) continues on Saturday, Jan. 20, when the match-ups are flip-flopped. Ohio State will face the host and second-ranked Bruins of UCLA at 4:30 p.m. ET/1:30 p.m. PT while USC and Penn State compete in the other contest.


Courtesy: USC Athletics

he two-time defending NCAA champion and No. 3-ranked Ohio State men’s volleyball team beat No. 13 USC, 25-16, 25-20, 20-25, 25-21, on Thursday (Jan. 18) at UCLA’s Pauley Pavilion on the first day of the AVCA Showcase.

In the tourney’s later match on Thursday, the host No. 2 Bruins meet No. 9 Penn State.

USC lost its third straight match to fall to 3-3, while Ohio State improved to 3-1.

Jack Wyett led USC with a match-high 18 kills (hitting .424) and 5 digs, Ryan Moss added 12 kills while hitting .348, Sam Lewis had a match-best 5 digs with 2 aces and both Matt Douglas and Chris Hall had a match-leading 7 digs.

For Ohio State, Nicolas Szerszen had 17 kills (hitting .517), 6 digs and 3 aces, Martin Lallemand had 11 kills and 4 blocks, Blake Leeson had 5 blocks along with 7 kills and Aaron Samarin had 7 digs.

The Buckeyes hit .327 to USC’s .270 and they served 10 aces.

USC held a 9-8 lead in the first set before Ohio State scored 4 of the next 5 points and USC could not catch up as the Buckeyes, who hit .409 and served 4 aces, closed out the set by tallying 9 of the final 11 points.  Ohio State scored the first 4 points of the second set and again the Trojans couldn’t overcome the deficit (USC was plagued by 9 serving errors in the set).  USC got off to an 8-3 start in the third set, but the Buckeyes crawled back to within 19-18 before a 5-point Trojan run restored order for Troy, which hit .407 in the set and had 10 digs.  USC couldn’t hold an early 6-1 lead in the fourth set as the Buckeyes went on a 4-point run to take an 18-16 lead before Troy tied it at 18-18, but then Ohio State got hot to finish off the match (the Buckeyes served 4 aces in the set, including the final point).

USC returns to action in the AVCA Showcase with a match on Saturday (Jan. 20) at 11 a.m. PT against Penn State.  It will be shown live on Pac-12 Los Angeles.  UCLA then will host Ohio State at 1:30 p.m. PT on Saturday in the final match of the AVCA Showcase.

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About Wendy Mayer

Wendy Mayer

Wendy Mayer has worked in athletics media relations for the last 20 years. The Northwest Missouri State alumna is currently senior writer for after spending the last 15 years with Purdue athletics.

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