COLUMBUS, Ohio – The No. 15 Ohio State University men’s volleyball team (8-2) snagged the opening set, 28-26, before No. 3 UC Santa Barbara (7-2) stormed back for a four-set victory (26-28, 25-19, 25-19, 25-18) Friday night inside the Covelli Center.
Sophomore middle blocker Ethan Talley was Ohio State’s top offensive performer of the night, bouncing 11 kills on 19 swings with just two errors for a .474 hitting efficiency. Fellow underclassman middle blocker, Samuel Clark, found some success as well with nine kills. Martin Lallemand connected on a dozen kills to pace the Buckeyes.
On the defensive side, Michael Wright and Luke Meidel combined for 29 of Ohio State’s 47 digs.
UCSB attacked .346 as a team and threw up 10 blocks to limit the Buckeye offense at .211.
Set 1: Eighteen tied scores in the opener frame. EIGHTEEN. Neither side garnered a lead of more than two points throughout the entire set. Four set-point opportunities, three for Ohio State and one for UCSB, were thwarted before the Buckeyes finally broke through at 28-26 when a Guacho swing went wide to seal the deal.
Set 2: The Buckeyes got off to a slow start in the second, falling behind 8-2. The deficit expanded to nine points at 21-12 before Ohio State rattled off four straight to pull within five at 21-16 and force a UCSB timeout. The quick break in action was just what the visitors needed, too, regrouping and taking the set 25-19.
Set 3: Offensive efficiency was key to UCSB victory in Set 3. Both squads took 31 swings, but the Gauchos terminated 15 compared to nine for Ohio State. UC Santa Barbara’s largest lead of the set came on the final point, a second-straight 25-19 triumph.
Set 4: Lallemand came alive in the fourth, hammering home five of six errorless attempts. His efforts were overpowered by a .560 UCSB hitting percentage though, resulting in a 25-18 clincher.
Ohio State returns to the Covelli Center Saturday night to face the two-time defending national champions Long Beach State University at 7 p.m. ET.