Monday, 26 February 2024

International Volleyball

Ohio St. stuns No. 1 UCLA with reverse NCAA men’s volleyball sweep

Ohio St. stuns No. 1 UCLA with reverse NCAA men's volleyball sweep

Ohio State’s Jacob Pasteur pushes the ball past the UCLA block/Scott Clouse photo

AUSTIN, Texas — UCLA, you might say, got Pasteur-ized.

That’s because Jacob Pasteur, Ohio State’s superstar senior outside, had six of his 23 kills in the fifth set of the fourth-ranked Buckeyes’ improbable reverse sweep of previously unbeaten and No. 1 UCLA.

“Unbelievable,” Pasteur said. “It’s just a testament to the toughness of our team.”

Ohio State’s Jacob Pasteur serves against UCLA/Cheyn Roux photo

Pasteur capped the victory with a back-row attack that lifted the 5-0 Buckeyes to a 19-25, 23-25, 25-18, 25-23, 15-13 victory and dropped UCLA, which had won 16 in a row — including the 2023 NCAA title — to 4-1.

Saturday in the Austin Convention Center as the First Point Collegiate Challenge continues, Ohio State plays USC at 1:30 Central, Stanford plays Ball State at 4 and UCLA plays Penn State at 6:30.

There was no doubt who Ohio State setter Michael Wright was going to on the last play.

“I was making sure I was ready for that ball,” said Pasteur, the product of Westminster, Maryland, who had five errors in 36 attacks to hit .500 and had three assists, two aces, seven digs and two blocks.

“There were a lot of unforced errors I’d like to cut out, but definitely I was pleased with my performance tonight,” Pasteur said.

His coach, Kevin Burch, made sure to emphasize that Pasteur is more than just a tremendous offensive weapon.

“He’s our best passer and was second in digs per set last year in our conference,” Burch said. “As an outside, that’s incredible. He’s one of the best back-row players in the conference, maybe one of the best in the country, his serving has gotten better, and his leadership has gone to the next level. There are a lot of things about him that make him extra special and it’s important for people to know that, as well.”

Ohio State of the MIVA, which hit .305, had five aces and 23 serving errors. Shane Wetzel had 13 kills, an assist, three blocks and three digs. Ben Putnam had eight kills, two assists, no aces but five errors, two blocks and eight digs. Burch noted that Putnam’s defense was a big key to the comeback.

Cole Young had eight kills, hit .462, and had an ace and five blocks. Wright, the senior setter, had a kill, 46 assists, two aces, five digs and seven blocks, one solo.

“I’m proud of our guys in that they were tough the entire match,” Burch said. “They could have curled in a ball in the corner…

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