*Photo by Jonathan Bates
LOS ANGELES, Calif. – A dazzling performance from the service line kept Ohio State Men’s Volleyball in contention at No. 11 Southern California (11-7) Saturday evening, ripping 14 aces to help offset a .462 Trojan hitting percentage and stretch the contest to five sets. Jake Hanes (5), Andrew Hillman (4) and Martin Lallemand (3) combined for 12 service snipes while middles Austin Gerwig and Ethan Talley each connected for one.
The Trojan offensive attack was ultimately too much to handle, however, and Ohio State (6-14) dropped the contest: 25-18, 23-25, 19-25, 25-15, 15-10.
Lallemand finished as the Buckeyes most efficient hitter, putting away eight kills on 18 attempts with two errors for a .333 hitting percentage. Hanes paced the squad in total points, responsible for 20 (15 kills and five aces). Tyler Alter put forth a solid performance as well, recording seven kills at a .278 clip (7-2-18). Aaron Samarin not only jumpstarted the offense with 25 error-free service receptions, but also dug a match-high 10 balls.
SET 1: Hanes had it going on in the first, ripping five kills on eight error-free attempts. The Buckeyes swung at a .350 clip, but struggled to slow down a USC onslaught which hummed along at a .667 rate in taking the opening frame 25-18.
SET 2: Ohio State was not going to depart the west coast without putting up a fight though. In set 2, the Buckeyes maintained their attacking percentage while slowing down the Trojans enough to pull even at one set apiece. Ohio State slapped a half dozen aces, including one by Hanes to earn set-point, in the 25-2 equalizer.
SET 3: Service success was the name of the game in the third frame, too. Ohio State posted five more aces and only three errors in racing past the Trojans, 25-19. Alter also provided a boost at the pin, terminating 3-of-5 attempts.
SET 4-5: Southern California returned to offensive dominance in the last two sets. Combine that with Ohio State’s serving efforts drying up, and the Trojans stormed back for the five-set win.