COLUMBUS — Ohio State started 2017 atop the heap of collegiate men’s volleyball as the preseason No. 1 team and then finished as the last squad standing after the national championship match in front of a home crowd amounting to 8,205 attendance.
On May 6, Ohio State defeated BYU in straight sets (25-19, 25-20, 25-22) for the second straight season, capturing the third Buckeye national title since 2011.
Nicolas Szerszen capped off his ‘MOP’ performance by obliterating 16 kills at a .480 rate while applying immense and consistent pressure from the service line, and also pacing the Scarlet & Gray with eight digs. He was one of four Buckeyes to attack .400 or better, supplying setter Christy Blough with plentiful options. Maixime Hervoir was responsible for a dozen tallies, bouncing home 10 kills and getting in on four block assists while swinging .471 (10-2-17).
After securing victory despite a pedestrian .148 hitting percentage in the opening frame, the Buckeye offense unhitched itself in the next two frames. Ohio State attacked .448 and 480 in the second and third sets, respectively.
Trailing 7-6 in the first set, the Buckeyes rattled off a 12-3 run to pull ahead 18-10. BYU trimmed a pair of points off its deficit by set’s end but ultimately came up short in a 25-19 OSU winner.
Miles Johnson ignited a Buckeye-dominated second stanza with a kill and block assist in the first two rallies of the set. Johnson would go on to corral six kills in a 25-20 victory. Hervoir and Szerszen added to the punishment from the pins, each burying four kills. Ohio State never trailed in the period.
Szerszen took over in the third, inflicting nine kills to the Cougar defense on 12 attempts with a lone error (.667). Hervoir was effective as well, terminating four of his five attempts. However, BYU refused to go away quietly, attacking .455 in set number three. Ohio State sprinted ahead in the offensive track meet though, hitting .480 on 16 kills. Fittingly, the tournament’s Most Outstanding Player, Szerszen, sealed the deal on a kill for Ohio State’s 25th and final point.
• Ohio State wins its third national championship in school history, all coming since 2011 (‘11, ‘16, ‘17)
• Fourth consecutive national title for the Midwestern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association (MIVA)
• Fifth MIVA squad to seize the trophy in the last seven seasons
• Third straight school to win back-to-back crowns (UC Irvine 2012-13, Loyola 2014-15, Ohio State 2016-17)
• Kevin Burch (OSU assistant coach) has now won a national championship in seven straight years
• Ohio State finishes the season with an overall record of 32-2
ALL-NCAA TOURNAMENT TEAM
Nicolas Szerszen, Ohio State – Most Outstanding Player
Christy Blough, Ohio State
Driss Guessous, Ohio State
Maxime Hervoir, Ohio State
Blake Leeson, Ohio State
Brendan Sander, BYU
Stijn van Tilburg, Hawaii
Information for this story was provided by Ohio State Athletics.
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