BYU volleyball upset in title game by Ohio State

Brenden Sander prepares to spike the ball against Ohio State. The Cougars were swept by the Buckeyes in the national title game on Saturday. (BYU Photo)
Brenden Sander prepares to spike the ball against Ohio State. The Cougars were swept by the Buckeyes in the national title game on Saturday. (BYU Photo)

Ohio State men’s volleyball swept BYU 3-0 (32-30, 25-23, 25-17)  to win their second NCAA championship.

Ohio State dominated the match hitting a .374 clip with 51 kills and only 17 errors.  BYU hit a .296 clip with 34 kills and 13 errors.  Ohio State had eight serving aces with 17 service errors compared to only two aces and 10 errors by BYU. BYU recorded 12.5 blocks and Ohio State had 4.

“Hats off to Ohio State,” said BYU head coach Shawn Olmstead. “They put together a remarkable season. They were absolutely the better team tonight.”

Miles Johnson led the Buckeyes recording 15 kills while hitting a .286 clip.  Blake Leeson contributed 11 kills while hitting a remarkable .846 clip. Christy Blough hit a .500 clip and set the Buckeyes with 44 assists.

Brenden Sander led the Cougars with 14 kills hitting a .500 clip.  Ben Patch recorded 10 kills and hit a .091 clip.  Jake Langlois contributed six kills and hit a .417 clip.  Leo Durkin set the Cougar offense recording 32 assists.

Ohio State came out strong in the first set with multiple big kills to put them up 3-1.  An ace by Sander and three kills by Patch brought it back to even at 8-8. BYU showed why they are the No. 1 blocking team in the nation with two consecutive blocks to gain an 11-8 lead. The Buckeyes battled back and traded points with the Cougars to tie it up at 18-18. BYU failed to take advantage of seven set point opportunities and the Buckeyes rallied back and won the set 32-30. Ohio State overcame nine service errors and had 18 kills hitting a .353 clip, while BYU had 14 kills and hit a .345 clip.

BYU started the second set hot taking a two point lead early and maintained it to put them up 15-12. The Buckeyes took a timeout and rallied to close the Cougars’ lead. BYU fought back with a big block and would’ve extended their lead to 19-16, but a fan interference call gave Ohio State a chance to replay the point. The Buckeyes took the momentum of that two point swing and gained a 22-21 lead and ultimately defeated the Cougars 25-23. The Buckeyes had 18 kills and hit a .303 clip while BYU had only 10 kills and hit a .286 clip.

Ohio State started the third set strong taking a 7-5 lead. An ace serve by the Buckeyes gave them a 10-7 lead and forced BYU to take a timeout. Outstanding serving by Ohio State’s Nicolas Szerszen extended their lead to 13-7. The Buckeyes serving and passing kept their momentum going giving them a commanding lead at 18-12. Ohio State’s near-perfect offensive play closed out the third set 25-17. The buckeyes had 14 kills and hit a match-high .478 clip while BYU recorded 10 kills and hit a .238 clip.

BYU had their opportunities early in the match with seven set points in the first set and a commanding lead in set two, but Ohio State’s persistence allowed them to take a 2-0 lead going into the third set. In the third set Ohio State’s booming serves and precision passing game were too much for BYU to overcome.

“These are the moments when you have to dig deep and be as composed as you can,” Olmstead said. “They put a lot of pressure on us that we just couldn’t overcome in the end. I’m proud of the guys for an outstanding season.”

The Cougars lose six seniors to graduation, including Michael Hatch.

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