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Men’s Volleyball: No. 7 Ohio State suffers first loss to No. 5 BYU

Junior setter Sanil Thomas sets the ball during the second set of No. 3 Ohio State’s match against No. 8 Penn State on Jan. 28, 2018 in St. John Arena. The Buckeyes defeated the Nittany Lions in straight sets (25-19, 25-15, 25-17) to pick up their fifth win of the season. Credit: Aliyyah Jackson | Senior Reporter

The No. 7 Ohio State men’s volleyball team (2-1) fell to No. 5 BYU (1-0) on the road in a three-set sweep on Thursday, 25-20, 25-23 and 27-25.

For most of the match, the Buckeyes and the Cougars kept it close, trading kills and scoring streaks in all three sets, ending with identical team hitting percentages of .325.

Ohio State continued to give opportunities to redshirt sophomore opposite hitter Jake Hanes, who hit his spots down the stretch, tallying nine kills in both the second and third sets. He finished the night with a team-high 23 kills, a .405 hitting percentage, and two blocks.

Senior setter Sanil Thomas totalled 30 assists on the night, 13 of which came in the third set. Thomas also added eight digs and two blocks.

But this wouldn’t be enough for the Buckeyes, as service errors and key kills by BYU freshman outside hitter Davide Gardini ruled the night.

With third third set tied at 25, the BYU freshman finished the match with two kills, earning the Cougars a top 10 win, their first of the season.

Committing 12 service errors in the first set, Ohio State put themselves in a position to play from behind from the start of the match.

After going ahead 4-3, an Ohio State service error led to a five-point run by the Cougars, which the Buckeyes couldn’t cut down to less than three.

The Buckeyes settled down, committing just five service errors in the second set and even tying the set late 17-17.

But the hostile crowd in the George Albert Smith Fieldhouse picked up and Gardini, along with sophomore opposite hitter Gabi Garcia Fernandez, quickly led the Cougars on a three-point run, from which the Buckeyes would not recover.

The third set saw the Buckeyes take more control, leading by as many as four, but a seven-point run led by Gardini gave the Cougars the lead back and, despite a few errors and kills by Haynes, the eventual match win. .

Following the loss, Ohio State will look to rebound against No. 11 Stanford at 9 p.m. on Saturday in Palo Alto, California.

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