PROVO -- The Buckeyes blanked the Cougars 3-0 Saturday night, winning 15-12, 15-10, 15-12 in front of 2,133 fans in the Smith Fieldhouse. The loss marks the first time the Cougars have been swept on their home floor since UC Santa Barbara won all three games of an April 13, 1996 contest, and the first time they have lost two in a row at home since UCLA picked up back-to-back wins on March 27 and 28, 1997.
Buckeye Pieter Olree led all hitters with 32 kills, followed by teammates Chris Fash with 23 and Colin McMillan with 17. McMillan, the nation's leader in hitting percentage, hit .394 on the night. Mike Wall led the Cougar attack with 28 kills and seven blocks, while Joaquin Acosta added 18 kills and Matt Olsen 15 on .462 hitting. For the match, Ohio State hit .305, compared to BYU's .274.
"I thought both nights we played very well offensively, but on both occasions we seemed to have a hard time scoring points," said coach Carl McGown. "Angel Aja is a very good setter. He did things we had never seen before and we had a hard time reacting. Although we played hard both nights, I told the guys we have to do better and keep improving if we want to have a successful season."
BYU took a 3-1 lead in game one on an Acosta dink across the OSU front line, before the Buckeyes responded with four straight points to take a 5-3 edge. After exchanging leads throughout the game, Ohio State overcame a 12-11 deficit to score the last four points and win the game on a cross-court kill by Pieter Olree. Game two saw the Cougars jump out to another early lead, 4-1, but the Buckeyes went on an 11-3 run to take command of the game. BYU backup setter Todd Steinert checked into the game and sparked three straight Cougar points, but the Buckeye defense closed out the match, scoring the winning point on a team block by Fash and McMillan.
Ahead 6-2 in the third game, BYU again fell victim to Aja's change of pace passing, allowing the Buckeyes back into the game on a series of kills from all over the court. An Olsen solo block gave BYU a 9-8 advantage, but it was the last lead the Cougars would enjoy, eventually dropping the game and the match on Olree's 32nd kill.
The loss drops BYU to 16-8 (10-6 conf.) this season, while Ohio State improves to 16-3 on the year. The Cougars will have a week off before hosting the last two home games of the year, April 7 and 8 against UC Santa Barbara in the Smith Fieldhouse at 7 p.m.