Adam Haws | Posted: 10 Mar 2023 | Updated: 31 Mar 2023

No. 8 Cougars down No. 15 Buckeyes in four sets

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BYUvsOhio State

PROVO, Utah — In front of a crowd of 4,021 at the Smith Field House, No. 8 BYU Cougars men's volleyball bested No. 15 Ohio State in four sets (25-23, 25-23, 23-25, 25-21) Friday night. 

"It is seriously the coolest experience for these guys, and it is so exciting to see it pretty filled up," said Shawn Olmstead, BYU head coach, about the crowd that was on hand to watch the match. "That means a lot to our team and our program. It means the world to have the support we have here at BYU."

Despite the Buckeyes out-hitting the Cougars .268 to .244, Ohio State's 23 service errors proved too much to overcome. BYU was led offensively by Luke Benson and Trent Moser, each recording 14 kills on the night, the most for Moser since Feb. 11, and the fourth straight match with 14 kills or more for Benson. The Cougars as a team recorded 49 kills in the match, along with six aces from the service line. 

"I think we could have done better putting them away in the third set," Benson said. "That's what the coaches talked to us about, and tomorrow we're going to try and make that change, have a better sense of urgency, and push to win, even if we're up." 

Miks Ramanis also helped carry the load offensively for BYU, recording 13 kills on 39 attempts, his most attempts of the season. Defensively, it was Teon Taylor who led the Cougars, blocking the Buckeyes seven times, his fourth game this season with seven or more blocks in a match.

Game One

The first game featured a 36-minute back-and-forth, coach's-challenge-filled battle between the Buckeyes and the Cougars. In a set that saw 16 ties and nine lead changes, it was the Cougars who ultimately prevailed with a final score of 25-23.

After trailing 5-2 early, a couple of kills by Moser and Gavin Julien helped the Cougars go on a 4-0 run to tie the game, 6-6. From there, neither the Buckeyes or Cougars would see a lead of more than two in the set. With the game tied at 19, Heath Hughes made his first appearance since Feb. 11, serving an ace to give the Cougars a pivotal one point lead.

The Buckeye's continued to battle with the game on the line, as Jacob Pasteur came up with a couple of set-saving digs. A Shane Wetzel kill followed by an attack error by Ohio State's Cole Young ended the set to give BYU the 1-0 set advantage.

Game Two

After a tight first game, the Cougars started the second strong, racing out to a 3-0 lead behind a pair of kills by Moser and Ramanis. BYU would maintain that lead until Ohio State tied the game 18-18, where a service error by Hughes, followed by an attack error by Benson, gave the Buckeyes new life. 

Despite the late run by Ohio State, BYU maintained control down the stretch, as an ace by Benson and a game-ending kill by Ramanis gave the Cougars the 25-23 win and a 2-0 set advantage in the match. 

Game Three

Trailing 2-0 in the match, the Buckeyes took a 6-2 lead to start the third. BYU responded to the deficit with a Moser kill that spurred a 4-0 run to tie the game at 6. The rest of the set was like the first, with neither team gaining more than a two-point advantage, resulting in nine ties and four lead changes, with Ohio State coming out victorious by a score of 25-23. 

At the media timeout, BYU held a 15-13 advantage. But a 4-0 run by Ohio State charged by back-to-back aces by Wetzel gave the Buckeyes a 16-15 lead late in the set. BYU immediately responded with a run of their own, as Ramanis, Moser and Benson recorded a trio of kills, helping give the Cougars a 22-20 lead. 

With the set seemingly in control by the Cougars, Ohio State went on to outscore BYU 5-1 down the stretch to close out the set, making it a 2-1 match advantage for BYU. 

Game Four

With a 2-1 set advantage, BYU came out swinging in the fourth to put away the buckeyes 25-21, winning the match 3-1. BYU's .360 hitting percentage was its best of the match, recording a .480 kill percentage on 12 kills.

Despite Ohio State's 15 kills in the set, the Buckeyes were unable to overcome their six service errors, their second most in a set this match. The set saw 10 ties, in what was another close game until the very end. After trailing 13-10 early, a kill and block by Moser and Taylor, followed by another kill by Benson, helped give BYU a 21-18 lead. The Cougars didn't look back from there, as back-to-back kills by Ramanis closed out the Buckeyes to take the match.

Tomorrow night, the Cougars and Buckeyes will remain in Provo, with BYU looking to take the season series against Ohio State. Saturday's match will begin at 7 p.m. MST in the Smith Fieldhouse, with live coverage on the BYUtv app.

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