COLUMBUS, Ohio – The 10th-ranked Ohio State (9-6 overall) men’s volleyball team rallied from being down two games to one to sixth-ranked UC Irvine (10-10) for a 3-2 (30-25, 23-30, 18-30, 30-24, 15-13) come-from-behind victory over the Anteaters. OSU’s Brett Versen (5th-Sr., Centerville, Ohio) scored a team-high 23 points for the Buckeyes with Robbie Klein (Sr.-Jr., Cincinnati, Ohio) adding 21. Versen had 19 kills (.343), two ace serves and four assist blocks with Klein adding 19 kills (.238) and four assist blocks. Anteater Jordan DuFault recorded a match-high 24.5 points with 21 kills (.385), one ace serve and five assist blocks. Kevin Carroll added 18.5 points for UC Irvine with 18 kills (.400) and an assist block.


In a tight game one that saw 12 ties and four lead changes, OhioState took the final lead at 22-21 off a UC Irvine error. At 24-23, Buckeye kills from Versen and Jason Tobkin (So.-Fr., Fairfield, Ohio) opened a 26-23 Buckeye lead. At 27-24, a Ryan Ammerman kill cut the margin to two at 27-25. A Klein kill and a Klein-Kevin Heine (So.-Fr., St. Louis, Mo.)-Daniel Mathews (Sr., Shorewood, Wis.) block set game point for OhioState at 29-25. The Buckeyes won the game, 30-25, with a Ben Spurlock (Sr.-So., Stow, Ohio) ace serve. For the game, OhioState hit .394 to UC Irvine’s .257.


Game two had 14 ties and six lead changes. OSU broke a 13-13 tie to take a 15-13 lead off two Anteater errors. Leading, 17-16, an OSU error tied the game at 17. A Jon Steller ace serve, a DuFault-Ammerman-Kevin Wynne block and an OSU error gave UC Irvine a 20-17 lead. At 25-22, UC Irvine scored four straight points including a DuFault kill to reach game point at 29-22. An Anteater error made it 29-23.  UC Irvine closed the game with a Steller kill to win the game, 30-23, and tie the match at one game each. The Anteaters hit .294 for the game to .333 for the Buckeyes.


UC Irvine, in game three, broke a 2-2 tie with a DuFault kill and an OSU error to take a 4-2 lead. After an Anteater error made it 4-3, UC Irvine expanded the lead to 9-3. The Anteaters continued to expand the lead reaching game point at 29-17 off an OSU error. An Anteater error made it 29-18. A Cole Reinholm kill closed out the game at 30-18 to give UC Irvine a 2-1 lead in the match. The Anteaters hit .444 in the game to -.038 for the Buckeyes.


Tied at two in game four, an OSU error, a Reinholm ace serve and a Mike Ortiz kill gave UC Irvine a 5-2 lead. The Anteaters took the lead to six at 11-5 with a Carroll kill. Trailing, 13-7, Buckeye kills from Klein and Versen made it 13-9. A Reinholm kill made it 14-9. Two Klein kills cut the Anteater lead to three at 14-11. Another Reinholm kill made the lead four at 15-11. Two UC Irvine errors and a Tobkin-Spurlock block made it 15-14. Kills by Reinholm and Tobkin made it 16-15. An Anteater error tied the game at 16. Tied at 18, a UC Irvine error gave OhioState a 19-18 lead. The Buckeyes expanded the lead to 21-18 with a Brian Kues (So., Cincinnati, Ohio) ace serve and an Anteater error. At 22-19, a Buckeye error and a Reinholm kill cut the Buckeye lead to one at 22-21. OSU kills from Klein and Versen and a Heine-Tobkin block gave OhioState a 25-21 lead. The Buckeye run continued with a Klein kill and two triple blocks from Heine, Versen and Tobkin to open a 28-21 lead. An OSU error cut the lead to 28-22. A Heine kill set game point at 29-22. UC Irvine stopped two game points with a Waite kill and a DuFault ace serve to cut the lead to five at 29-24. OhioState closed out the game with a Tobkin kill for a 30-24 win to tie the match at two games each. The Buckeyes hit .324 for the game to .194 for UC Irvine.


Tied at three in the fifth game, two kills from Carroll gave UC Irvine a 5-3 lead. A Tobkin kill and a Kues ace serve tied the game at five. Versen, with a kill, gave OhioState a 6-5 lead. At 7-6, the Buckeyes expanded the lead to 9-6 with kills from Spurlock and Klein. An OSU error made it 9-7. A Tobkin kill and a Spurlock-Mathews block gave the Buckeyes an 11-7 lead. A Reinholm kill cut the margin to 11-8. OhioState took the lead to 13-8 with a Spurlock kill and a Heine-Klein block. UC Irvine cut the margin to three at 13-10 with a DuFault kill and a Reinholm-Ortiz block. The Buckeyes reached match point at 14-10 with an Anteater error. Two OSU errors cut the lead to two at 14-12. UC Irvine, with a Carroll-Ortiz block, cut the margin to one at 14-13. OhioState won the game with a Heine kill at 15-13 to win the match, 3-2. OSU hit .333 for the game to .200 for the Anteaters.


For the match UC Irvine out hit the Buckeyes, .279 to .274. The Anteaters had a 69-62 advantage in kills and edged the Buckeyes, 6-5 in ace serves. UC Irvine gave up 21 service errors to 20 for OhioState. Defensively, the Anteaters recorded a 40-32 advantage in digs. OSU’s Versen had a match-high 10 digs in the match. At the net, the Buckeyes had a 17-11 margin in team blocks. Heine collected a match-high 10 assist blocks for his career-high. Tobkin added a career-high eight assist blocks in the match. At setter for UC Irvine, Ammerman recorded a match-high 60 assists while OSU’s Mathews had 50.


OhioState continues on the road next week with MIVA matches at Mercyhurst Thursday and at IPFW Saturday.