No. 1 Ohio State Men's Volleyball Beats USC In 4 Sets

    Lucas Yoder
    Jan. 6, 2017

    Final Stats

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    The top-ranked and defending NCAA champion Ohio State men’s volleyball team came back to defeat unranked USC, 22-25, 27-25, 25-18, 25-16, on Friday (Jan. 6) on the first day of the AVCA Showcase -- Big Ten/Pac-12 Challenge on the Buckeyes’ home floor in Columbus, Ohio.

    USC of the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation fell to 1-1 in 2017, while Ohio State of the Midwestern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association was playing its season opener. The Buckeyes are hosting the 2017 NCAA Championship in St. John Arena in May.

    In the day’s first match, No. 2 UCLA swept No. 13 Penn State, 3-0.

    The Trojans now face the Nittany Lions (0-1) of the Eastern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association on Saturday (Jan. 7) at 3 p.m. ET on the second day of the AVCA Showcase -- Big Ten/Pac-12 Challenge in Columbus.

    Lucas Yoder led USC against the Buckeyes with match highs of 15 kills, 8 digs and 2 aces, while Aaron Strange and Blake Markland each added 6 kills, Andy Benesh had a match-leading 7 blocks and Matt Douglas had 8 digs.

    Yoder was playing on the home court where his uncle, former USC All-American Bob Yoder, served as Ohio State’s head coach in 1980 and 1981 before returning to his alma mater as the Trojan head coach from 1982 to 1989.

    For Ohio State, Miles Johnson had 15 kills (hitting .333) with 5 blocks, Nicolas Szerszen added 11 kills, Blake Leeson had 7 kills and 5 blocks, Driss Guessous hit .500 with 6 kills and 4 blocks and Christy Blough had 8 digs.

    Ohio State outhit the Trojans, .250 to .081, and had more blocks (13.0 to 9.5) and aces (7 to 4).

    USC went on a 4-0 run in the first set to build an 8-6 edge, but Ohio State caught up at 15-15, then soon after the Trojans used a 3-0 run to go up 22-19 and held on for the set despite hitting just .077. Troy trailed 8-3 in the second set, but crept back to tie the set at 20-20 and then led 22-21 before the Buckeyes regrouped and pulled out the extended set. USC held a 10-8 lead in the third set before Ohio State scored 7 of the next 9 points to forge a 15-12 margin and the Trojans could not catch up. The fourth set seesawed early until Ohio State went up 13-11, a lead it continued to expand while hitting .368 in the set.

    After Saturday’s Penn State match, USC begins its home schedule next week, as the Trojans open Mountain Pacific Sports Federation play in the Galen Center against No. 4 Long Beach State on Jan. 11 and No. 14 Cal State Northridge on Jan. 14, both at 7 p.m. PT.