PROVO -- Ohio State became the first team since 1997 to win a match in the Smith Fieldhouse, knocking off the Cougars 3-2 in Provo Saturday night, 15-8, 7-15, 15-8, 12-15, 15-10. BYU had won 40 straight matches in the fieldhouse, dating back to a loss to UCLA on March 28, 1997.
After falling behind 5-1 in game one, BYU capitalized on several of Ohio State's hitting errors to tie the game at 8-8. The Buckeyes out-blocked BYU 9-3 in the game, using their defense to score the final seven points. As a team , the Cougars hit .156 in the game, while committing 10 service errors.
Ohio State jumped out to another early lead in game two, leading BYU 2-0 before the Cougars responded with an 8-0 run sparked by junior Matt Olsen. Olsen teamed up on two blocks and served up two aces to account for four points in the run. Mike Wall recorded eight kills and three blocks in the game.
With Ohio State ahead 6-4 in game three, the teams battled through 19 sideouts on the point before took control. Buckeye Pieter Olree's 14 kills helped his team to a 14-8 lead before Chris Fash nailed the game-winner. BYU responded in game four, jumping out to a 10-5 lead on a swing by Joaquin Acosta. Ohio State scored seven of the next 10 points to pull to within 13-12 before blocks by Olsen and Acosta provided the final margin of victory.
The Cougars rebounded from a slow start in the fifth game to tie the score at 5-5, but Ohio State's flawless attack was too much, as three consecutive points by setter Angel Aja, followed by two blocks from Colin McMillan, gave the Buckeyes a 10-5 lead. Ohio State took advantage of a series of BYU errors to take the game and the match, 15-10.
"We clearly had a hard time scoring points against them," said BYU coach Carl McGown. "I think what it really boiled down to was a serving-receiving battle. We couldn't serve them out of their offense, and they served us tough and made us go outside more than we wanted to. I think we played hard, but we certainly didn't play with a lot of confidence."
Ohio State hit .382 for the match, including a 1.000 performance in the decisive fifth game on 12 for 12 hitting. Senior Chris Fash led the Buckeye attack, racking up 39 kills and hitting .517 for the match. Mike Wall also picked up 39 kills on .400 hitting, and Matt Olsen added 25 kills (.647). Chris Pitzak recorded 107 assists, and Brad Goldston led the defensive effort with 14 digs. BYU committed 32 service errors on the night, while Ohio State missed on 30 serves.
The loss drops the Cougars to 16-7 (11-6) on the season, while the Buckeyes improve to 15-3 with the win. The teams will face-off again tomorrow night at 7 p.m. in the Smith Fieldhouse.