After a slow start in the first set, the Ohio State men’s volleyball team fought back, taking No. 11 USC to five sets, but falling just short, 18-25, 25-23, 25-19, 15-25 and 10-15.
For most of the night, the Trojans (11-7, 3-3 MPSF) had a slight edge over the Buckeyes (6-14, 2-6 MIVA), finishing with 61 and 43 kills, respectively, USC also had a .462 hitting percentage compared to Ohio State’s .238 hitting percentage.
An ace by senior outside hitter Ryan Moss gave USC an early 7-3 lead in the fifth set. The Buckeyes used kills by redshirt sophomore outside hitter Tyler Alter to attempt a comeback, but couldn’t string enough points together, ultimately falling 15-10.
While USC edged the Buckeyes in most categories, the one category Ohio State led was aces, racking up 14 to USC’s five.
With the second set tied at 10, Ohio State used two USC service errors and two aces by sophomore opposite hitter Jake Hanes and freshman middle blocker Ethan Talley to break the set open at 14-11. USC took control by winning six of the next seven points, but Ohio State mounted a comeback off of three aces in the last 12 points, winning 25-23.
Six aces from the Buckeyes came in the second set, including three by Hanes and back-to-back aces by junior setter Andrew Hillman.
Hanes led the Buckeyes with 15 kills and five aces, adding three digs. Hillman contributed 37 assists, four kills, four aces, one block and four digs.
While errors continued to be a problem for the Buckeyes, committing 18 attack and 22 service, it was a familiar struggle for the Trojans as well, who committed 13 attack and 22 service errors of their own.
Midway through the first set, two USC errors brought Ohio State within three. But a bad set by junior setter Andrew Hillman and two kills by redshirt senior Jack Wyett gave the Trojans three-straight points and a 20-14 lead. They would extend their lead to seven by the end of the set, winning 25-18.
Going into the fourth set, Ohio State led two sets to one, attempting to close out an away victory.
A kill by Hanes and an ace by sophomore middle blocker Austin Gerwig brought the Buckeyes within three at 14-11, but Ohio State would only win four of the next 15 points, losing the set 15-25.
Ohio State returns to St. John Arena at 7 p.m. Friday to face Lees-McRae.