COLUMBUS, Ohio - The University of California San Diego was little match for top-ranked and undefeated reigning national champion Ohio State, falling 3-0 in non-conference men's volleyball action Friday night at St. John Arena. Scores were 25-17, 25-19 and 25-13.
UC San Diego moved to 5-14, having now dropped nine matches in succession. The Tritons had just suffered a three-set decision at No. 2 Long Beach State exactly one week ago. Ohio State ran its remarkable win streak to 42 straight contests, now at a perfect 19-0. The teams last met in 2011, with UCSD pulling off the four-set upset of then-third-ranked OSU. Tonight's result evened up the all-time series at 3-3. The Tritons' last visit to the Eastern Time Zone was in 2009.
Junior opposite Tanner Syftestad put down 14 kills for the team high for a 15th match in a row. The team tri-captain hit .375 (14-5-24). Senior middle blocker Shayne Beamer added four kills without an error over six swings (.667).
Ohio State compiled 13.0 total team blocks, to just 2.0 for UCSD, and out-hit the Tritons, .548-.094.
Nicolas Szerszen led all players with 15 kills for the hosts on .571 (15-3-21) hitting. Blake Leeson put down eight kills at a .700 (8-1-10) attack rate, with a match-high six total blocks.
The match featured a mere 10 tie scores and two lead changes.
The opening set did not feature a run of more than two points by either side until a 3-0 sequence by the Buckeyes to give them a 23-16 lead around a UCSD timeout. The sixth and last time the score was knotted, however, was back at 7-7.
Ohio State trotted out to a 9-3 advantage in the second frame before the Tritons called for time. The Tritons could get no closer than two the rest of the way.
Once more in the third, the Buckeyes were up 11-6 at the first timeout after a 3-0 run. A 4-0 stretch, the longest of the match by either team, put the Tritons on the brink down 22-11. OSU had three triple blocks in the set and four on the night.
"We knew heading into this match, playing the No. 1 team in the country on their home court, we were going to have to play our A game to be competitive," said UCSD head coach Kevin Ring. "Unfortunately tonight, Ohio State played very well. They served very tough. We definitely struggled in serve receive and our offense took a hit. I thought Tanner Syftestad did a nice job for us, hitting .375 with 14 kills, and Shayne Beamer did a nice job with four kills on six attempts, but we just need to find more offense from the other pins (hitters) and the other middle blocker position.
"(One of the things about Ohio State that I was really impressed by), is they played at a high level and just sustained that. They just stay very consistent. They don't try to do too much. From start to finish, they were the better team tonight."
Having recovered from injury, junior Alec Flowers was back on the court and back in the starting lineup at middle blocker for the first time since Feb. 4.
UCSD remains in Columbus, Ohio, to round out a season-long four-match road stretch on Saturday, March 11. The Tritons await a neutral-site date inside St. John Arena with No. 12 Ball State of Muncie, Ind. The Cardinals, like Ohio State, are from the Midwestern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association. First serve is set for 2 p.m. PT.
"We had a chance to watch the UC Irvine-Ball State match, and we will be ready for that match tomorrow night," concluded Ring.