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."
- Ohio State concludes the 2018 season with an overall record of 25-6
- Ohio State reached third straight NCAA Semifinals
- Ohio State posted an 89-10 mark during the last three seasons
- Ohio State registered a 111-19 record with Nicolas Szerszen on the roster
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 Leeson manning 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.