No. 2 UCLA gave head coach John Speraw a match to remember for his 300th career win as the Bruins dealt two-time defending national champion Ohio State a five-set defeat in the AVCA Men's Volleyball Showcase held in Pauley Pavilion on Saturday.
Scores of the match were 25-18, 22-25, 27-25, 24-26, 16-14. The Bruins improved to 7-0 on the season and will take on No. 4-ranked Hawai'i next week for a pair of matches in the Islands.
In set five, UCLA took an early 3-1 lead on a kill by Daenan Gyimah. UCLA still led 5-3 after an Ohio State service error. The Buckeyes then got it going and tied the score at six-all. OSU registered leads of 7-6 and 8-7 only to see the Bruins level the score after a couple of service errors. UCLA then grabbed leads to 9-8 and 10-9 after kills by JT Hatch. A Dylan Missry spike made the lead 12-10. After Micah Ma'a put UCLA up 13-11 with a kill, the Buckeyes answered with three straight to earn their first match point of the night. Hatch's kill kept the Bruins alive. Missry followed with an ace for a 15-14 lead and a block by Oliver Martin and Christian Hessenauer ended the match.
The Bruins served for the match in set four after an OSU error made it 24-23 Bruins. A service error tied the score and Ohio State captured the set after an attack error by UCLA and an OSU ace to end the set at 24-26 and send the match the distance.
Set three had 16 ties and six lead changes. With the score knotted at 23-all, OSU moved ahead after a Bruin error. Hatch tied the match at 24-all with a kill. Another Bruin hitting error put the Buckeyes back in front, but an OSU service error evened the score at 25. UCLA took the lead after an OSU attack error and then won the set after another attack error by the Buckeyes.
In set two, neither team led by more than two points until Ohio State moved in front 17-20 after a Bruin attack error. UCLA sliced the margin to one, at 20-21, on a block by Gyimah and Hessenauer. A UCLA service error and a kill by the Buckeyes followed to make it 20-23. Two kills later the Buckeyes had the set 22-25.
UCLA stormed out to a 5-0 lead to begin the match. The Buckeyes battled back to even the score at 8-all. UCLA regained the lead at 12-10 and then a series of Buckeye errors and kills by Gyimah and Hessenauer resulted in a 17-10 UCLA advantage. OSU closed to 20-15, but a kill by Hessenauer pushed the margin to 22-15. UCLA took home the initial set on another swing by Gyimah.
Congratulations to Head Coach @JohnSperaw on his 300th career victory!— UCLA M. Volleyball (@UCLAMVB) January 21, 2018
Hessenauer led the Bruins attack with a season-best 19 kills (also team-high 13 digs) while Hatch chipped in with a season-best 16 kills. Gyimah finished with nine kills (.500), a career-high seven block assists and a key late dig. Garland Peed added a career-high 12 digs and three set assists. Ma'a totaled 47 set assists for the Bruins who hit .238 for the match and added eight digs and six blocks. Missry tied his career-best with 10 digs. UCLA outhit the Buckeyes .238 to .113 and out blocked the visitors 13.5 to 8.5 while recording a season-high 21 block assists. The Bruins survived 29 service errors (2 aces) and won the digging battle 56-51.
UCLA will return home to play Princeton on Feb. 1 in the Wooden Center after next week's trip to play at Hawai'i. In match one of the Showcase, No. 9 Penn State defeated No. 13 USC 23-25, 25-21, 28-26, 19-25, 17-15.