Columbus, Ohio – The No. 3 seed Ohio State (26-6) men’s volleyball team defeated No. 4 seed UC Santa Barbara (18-15), in five sets (20-25, 25-20, 25-19, 22-25, 15-9) to win the NCAA championship Saturday night in Rec Hall on the campus of Penn State University. Buckeye Shawn Sangrey recorded career-highs of 32.4 points and 30 kills (.389) and added five assist blocks. John Klanac had 18.5 points with 15 kills (.189), one ace serve and five assist blocks for the Buckeyes. UC Santa Barbara’s Cullen Irons posted a team-high 17 points with 16 kills (.263) and two assist blocks. Jeff Menzel added 16.5 points for the Gauchos with 12 kills (.025), one ace serve and seven assist blocks.
Ohio State’s Steven Kehoe was named the Most Outstanding Player of the tournament. Joining him on the All-Tournament team were Klanac and Sangrey. Penn State’s Joe Sunder, UCSB’s Irons and USC’s Murphy Troy and Tri Bourne completed the team.
Set one saw 13 ties and two lead changes. UCSB took a 1-0 lead off an OSU error. A Kevin Heine kill tied the set at one. The squads exchanged points to reach 12-all. An OSU error and Gaucho blocks from Scott Slaughter and Menzel and Dylan Davis and Menzel gave UCSB a 15-12 lead. A 5-2 Buckeye run tied the set at 17. Three kills from Jason Tobkin, one from Klanac and a Gaucho error offset an OSU error and a Menzel kill. Kills from Davis and Slaughter gave UCSB a 19-17 lead. A Klanac kill and a Buckeye error made it 20-18. Kills from Menzel and Klanac moved the score to 21-19. A Grayson Overman-Tobkin block cut the lead to one at 21-20. A Trey Valbuena kill and an OSU error made it 23-20. UC Santa Barbara reached set point at 24-20 with a kill from Slaughter. The Gauchos won the set, 25-20, with a Menzel kill to take a 1-0 lead in the match. Ohio State out hit the Gauchos, .367 to .318 in the set.
A Davis-Menzel block opened set two for the Gauchos. OSU responded with the next three points off a Heine-Sangrey block, a Gaucho error and a Klanac-Overman block. UC Santa Barbara trailed, 9-7, when a kill from Davis and an OSU error tied the set at nine. Tied at 10, a kill from Irons and blocks by Slaughter and Valbuena and Slaughter and Irons gave the Gauchos a 13-10 lead. OSU trailed, 16-13, when a Gaucho error, a Klanac-Heine-Sangrey block and a Sangrey kill tied the set at 16. Tied at 19, a Sangrey kill and an ace serve from Klanac gave the Buckeyes a 21-19 lead. A Slaughter kill cut the lead to one at 21-20. OSU kills from Sangrey and Heine made the lead three at 23-20. Ohio State reached set point at 24-20 with a Kehoe-Heine-Tobkin block. The Buckeyes, with a Heine-Tobkin block, won the set, 25-20, to tie the match at one set each. Ohio State hit .250 for the set to .100 for the Gauchos.
Tied at one in the third set, two OSU errors and an ace serve from Menzel gave UC Santa Barbara a 4-1 lead. OSU tied the set at four with kills from Klanac, Sangrey and Overman. A second Overman kill gave OSU a 5-4 lead. A Valbuena kill tied the set at five. The Buckeyes took a 7-5 lead with kills from Sangrey and Overman. Leading, 11-9, a Tobkin kill and a Gaucho error gave OSU a 13-9 lead. At 15-11, kills from Overman and Klanac gave the Buckeyes a six-point lead at 17-11. Leading, 19-13, an Overman ace serve took the lead to seven at 20-13 but an OSU error made it 20-14. Kills from Sangrey and Menzel moved the score to 21-15. Two kills from Irons made it 21-17, OSU. A Sangrey kill and a Gaucho error made it 23-17. Errors by both teams moved the score to 24-17 and set point for Ohio State. A Valbuena kill stopped the set point at 24-19. Ohio State won the set, 25-19, with an Overman kill to take a 2-1 lead in the match. The Buckeyes hit .364 for the set to .208 for UC Santa Barbara.
Two Buckeye errors opened set four for a 2-0 UC Santa Barbara lead. OSU trailed by as many as five points (13-8). Kills from Klanac and Sangrey and a Gaucho error cut the margin to two at 13-11. At 17-15, OSU tied the set at 17 with kills from Sangrey and Overman. The Gauchos responded with a kill by Irons, an OSU error and a Vince Devany-Slaughter block to take a 20-17 lead. Kills from Klanac and Irons made it 21-18. The score went to 22-19 with kills from Sangrey and Menzel. A Todd Travis ace serve and a Tobkin kill made it 23-20. OSU cut the margin to two at 23-21 with a Sangrey kill. The Gauchos reached set point at 24-21 with a Devany-Davis block. Sangrey, with a kill, stopped the set point at 24-22. UC Santa Barbara won the set, 25-22, with a kill from Menzel. For the set, the Gauchos hit .240 to .194 for Ohio State.
Ohio State opened the fifth set with a Sangrey kill. A kill from Irons tied the set at one. A Sangrey kill and an OSU error made it two-all. Kills from Overman and Menzel tied the score at three. Errors by both squads made it four-all. The score moved to five-all with kills from Heine and Menzel. A Sangrey kill and an OSU error tied the score at six. A kill by Klanac and a Klanac-Overman block gave Ohio State an 8-6 lead. A Buckeye error cut the lead to one at 8-7. An Overman kill made it 9-7. Menzel, with a kill, made it 9-8. The score moved to 10-9 with a kill from Klanac and a Buckeye error. A Sangrey kill and a Gaucho error took the Ohio State lead to three at 12-9. After a UCSB time out, a Sangrey kill made it 13-9 forcing another UCSB time out. Ohio State reached match point at 14-9 with a kill from Sangrey. The Buckeyes, with a Kehoe-Heine-Tobkin block, won the set, 15-9, to win the match, 3-2, to take home the national championship.
For the match, Ohio State hit .329 to .198 for UC Santa Barbara. The Buckeyes had a 74-45 advantage in kills and a 70-42 margin in assists. Kehoe recorded a season-high 65 assists for the Buckeyes while Devany had 41 for the Gauchos. OSU recorded three ace serves to two for UC Santa Barbara. The Buckeyes gave up 26 service errors in the match to six for the Gauchos. Defensively, Ohio State had a 40-38 edge in digs with OSU’s Mik Berzins and UCSB’s Menzel and Andy McGuire sharing match-high honors with 10 digs each. At the net, the Buckeyes had a season-high 16.5 points in the match to 14 for UC Santa Barbara. OSU’s Heine, with 10 total blocks (one solo and nine assists), tied his career high for the third time. Menzel and Slaughter shared team-high honors for the Gauchos with seven assist blocks each.
The NCAA championship is the first for men’s volleyball in three tries. OSU was runner-up in 1977 losing 3-1 to Southern California at UCLA and in 2000 losing 3-0 to UCLA at IPFW.
2011 NCAA National Collegiate Men's Volleyball
May 7, 2011
Head Coach Pete Hanson
Hanson: Wow. This is a great night for Ohio State men's volleyball. First of all, I'd like to congratulate [UC] Santa Barbara on a great season. The played hard from start to finish. Our kids weathered a tough start in game one, and we weathered the storm and got to game five. We talked about who was going to work harder and make the critical plays. Thank goodness the guys in scarlet and grey did that. We had some outstanding performances by a lot of guys, and three of them are sitting right here [Steven Kehoe, Shawn Sangrey, and John Klanac], Grayson Overman was outstanding as a sophomore middle blocker, he had a wonderful night. I'm just really happy for this team and all the teams that have come before us, and hopefully we've added another element to the Ohio State volleyball legacy, we're pretty proud of that.
Q: Coach did you ever think you'd be talking about
winning a national championship with 26 service errors?
A: Probably not. That's obviously a stat that isn't in our favor, for sure. But when you out-kill a team 74-45 you make up for it with your attacking. A lot of that credit goes to the three guys that pass the ball, and then our setter Steve [Kehoe] and then on to our young guy from Pennsylvania [Sangrey]. I think I'm going to schedule half of our games next year in this state, so he can feel like he's at home and play like that every night. We had some great performances to overcome the serving, and that was huge for us.
Q: Coach can you talk a little bit about what this
title means for eastern volleyball?
A: Well I don't know if it's an East-West kind of thing. We have kids from California on our team, and we're just trying to put the best volleyball team together that we can, from all over the country, with kids that want to play for Ohio State. It's certainly nice to bring a title here, but I don't like that comparison when it's us against the West or the west against us. Our goal was to win a national championship, and we had to play two teams, one from here and one from out there. If we would have played two from out there I don't think it would be any different, but I would to think that this will help our sport get better, that kids will see viable options across the country to play volleyball. That's the part that I'm happiest about.
Q: Coach what did you guys do to shut down [Jeff]
Menzel so well?
A: Well I think part of it became our serving. We got them out of their system, and I think when he gets a higher ball and we can get guys in front of him, we can be effective. He is going to hit the block hard and we've taught our guys to do that in our gym as well. As blockers we know that if we can get a touch, we have some people that can transition the ball. He's really good one-on-one, but we didn't allow him any one-on-one opportunities. I know our serving looked abysmal in the first game, but we knew that if we stuck with it, it would create those chances that we got in the last game. I think when you hold an All-American to 12 kills on 40 swings and he hits .025, you've done a pretty good job. We just stuck with it over time.
#1 Steven Kehoe, Sr., S
Q: Talk about the mood after dropping that first
A: Since it's been tournament time, we've lost the first set of a number of matches. We talk about that in the huddle. I definitely came out tense, and I think a lot of the guys did, especially from the service line. We knew if we stuck to our gameplan, we'd be all right. We know how well we can play. Like Coach said, we just needed to out-kill them and keep passing well, and things fell into place for us.
Q: Talk about that last triple block. Who got their
hands on it and how sweet was it when the ball went down
on the other side of the net?
A: Well I got it. [UCSB's Jeff] Menzel was killing us. He didn't hit for a great number, but he's capable of some incredible swings. Our coaching staff told us if we blocked him once in the last five points, we would win the match. It was pretty sweet to make it that last point. I thought the coaching staff did an awesome job throughout game five to keep us steady, and make sure we knew what their offense was going to do.
#8 John Klanac, Sr., OH
Q: Talk about being able to out-physical one of the
A: This team has worked year-round in the weight room and conditioning with Andy Britton. We do everything together, on and off the court. The group in general just sticks together, and these are my best friends. What better way to go out than with a national championship.
#6 Shawn Sangrey Jr., OP
Q: Talk about the game-plan and overall feeling
A: The first thing we talked about was giving 100 percent effort, and leaving everything on the court. We knew this was the last game of the season, and for our seniors it was their last collegiate volleyball game ever. We wanted to go out on top, and that's what we did.
Q: How sweet is it to win this title close to
A: Incredible. It's so much fun with a cheering section like that, and winning it in front of family and friends is incredible -we are the best team in the country.
2011 NCAA National Collegiate Men's Volleyball
May 7, 2011
Head Coach Rich McLaughlin
McLaughlin: I'm extremely proud of my team and all of the seniors especially, for just having a great year. It was just an incredible effort by them. It started three years ago and they just gave it everything they had and just came up a little short, but man what a career for these guys.
Q: How hard is it to see your team fight to the fifth set
and not get the win?
A: Any time you lose, it's tough. They fought back. They've fought all year. Ohio State deserved it. They were good.
Q: Did you feel the momentum was on your side after taking
the fourth set?
A: Sure, yeah. It's anybody's game in the fifth game, anybody's match. Ohio State served the ball well in the last game and they blocked the ball. They did a real good job blocking. They took care of the big plays. They deserve it.
Q: What are your thoughts on Jeff Menzel this weekend?
A: Teams are going to kind of gang up on him. He has done a good job all year. If I were playing my own team, that's the guy I would want to try to stop. They did a good job on it. They got us passing off the net. We didn't pass well. That makes it hard for all of our guys: Cullen (Irons), Jeff (Menzel), Scott (Slaughter). Like I said, I'm real proud of our guys. Ohio State earned it. They served the ball well and got us in some problems.
# 19 Scott Slaughter, MB, Sr.
Q: How did you feel after the fourth set?
A: I felt good. We had momentum. They played a great game. They absolutely deserved it as Rick said. It was a dog fight. What more could you ask for, for a national championship fifth game? Both teams going at it. This was a great game. They came out on top. They got more stops than we did.
Q: What are your thoughts on how Shawn
A: He played great and the numbers show it.
Q: How good were the Ohio State blocks?
A: They made the right moves at the right times. In the first set the missed a lot of serves, but if you're swinging that hard eventually some of them are going to drop and that's what started to happen. It started taking us out of our offense a little bit. We had to set some high balls and they had three up. They're a great blocking team. If you get three up on a block you usually get some results.
Q: Are you able to put into perspective what you have
A: Absolutely. When you lose a game like this, you can say "Oh my God it was a waste, we should have just lost first round." Absolutely not. We did something that no one thought we could. We made one of the biggest runs in volleyball history I guess you could say. You could look back and say "Oh my God we lost in the finals," but in the end you've got to realize you upset the No. 1 team at their house, the No. 2 team at their house. We beat Long Beach, a team that beat us twice. We beat USC again, which everyone thought we couldn't do. By all means, everyone says we shouldn't be here, but in the end, we played a great season. You can hang our head if you want but as long as you left it on the court there's absolutely no reason to. I thought that we did that. I thought we left it all on the court. We went to five. There's nothing you can regret.
# 12 Cullen Irons Opp./OH, Sr.
Q: How did you feel after the fourth set?
A: We didn't make the stops when we needed them. We played a good match and unfortunately we came out a little short. Ohio State, they played awesome. They were digging everything. They got a lot of blocks. Shawn Stangrey, we didn't have an answer. That was just the difference right there, getting kills. He was over .300, almost .400. That's the difference.
NCAA Men's Volleyball National Championship Match Notes
Ohio State vs. UC-Santa Barbara
May 7, 2011
- Ohio State wins its first National Championship in three tries.
- Ohio State improves to 1-2 all-time in National Championship matches.
- UCSB falls to 0-5 all-time in National Championship matches.
- The All-Tournament team members are USC's Murphy Troy and Tri Bourne, UCSB's Cullen Irons, Ohio State's
- The Most Outstanding Player of the 2011 NCAA Championship is Ohio State's Steven Kehoe.
- This is the second NCAA Championship match to go five games in the last three years (UC Irivine 3, USC 2 in 2009) and the 14th overall.
Ohio State Notes
- Ohio State snapped a seven-match losing streak to the Buckeyes.
- Shawn Sangrey's 30 kills are the most by an Ohio State player this season.
- Sangrey's 30 kills are also a career high, surpassing the mark of 28 set against Lewis on Feb. 12, 2010.
- John Klanac (1,048 kills) moved into 10th place on Ohio State's career kills list, passing Mark Greaves (1,043 kills; 2003-06).
- Kevin Heine (367 total blocks) passed John Albertson (366 total blocks; 2006-09) and David Frette (364 total blocks; 1989-91) for eighth place on OSU's career total blocks chart.
- Heine finished the season 10th on OSU's single-season attack percentage chart with a .463 mark (242-57-400).
- Steven Kehoe ranks 15th on OSU's single-season assists list with 1,318 assists.
- Mik Berzins is eighth on OSU's single-season digs chart with 210 on the year.
- Sangrey finished his career tied for 14th on Ohio State's career points list (1,058.5 pts).
UC-Santa Barbara Notes
- UCSB is now 7-1 all-time against Ohio State.
- Dylan Davis joined Scott Slaughter in UCSB's century blocks club (101).
- Jeff Menzel eclipsed the 500-kill and 1,000-attempt mark for the season with 506 kills and 1,039 attempts.
- Menzel finishes his career third in school history in kills (2,074) and second in service aces (135).
- Andy McGuire moved into second place on the school's single season chart, passing Aaron Mansfield (270 digs; 2004) with 277 digs on the year.
- With 41 assists on the night, Vince Devany reached 40-assist mark in the final seven matches of the year