The No. 11 Buckeyes fell to No. 2 UCLA Friday, but picked up a win against No. 12 Southern California Saturday at Pauley Pavilion.
Ohio State’s (4-1, 0-0) trip to California served as the first time the Buckeyes strayed outside of Columbus this season. Both matches were part of the Big Ten/Pac-12 Challenge.
Against UCLA (3-0, 0-0), Ohio State kept the score close in the first set, until a 10-6 run by the Bruins propelled them to a win in the first set 25-18.
It was back-and-forth to start the second set. After a few long rallies, the Bruins jumped ahead 15-8, forcing Ohio State to take a timeout. After the timeout, junior middleblocker Samuel Clark followed up his kill and Ohio State brought the score to 20-14.
After a tough 25-15 loss in the second set, the Buckeyes came back and kept fighting in the third and fourth sets. Coming out of the third set with a 25-23 win, the Buckeyes had to take the fourth set in order to push the Bruins to the last set.
Back-to-back kills by senior outside hitter Martin Lallemand and set-winning block by red shirt sophomore middle blocker Justin Howard, the Buckeyes took the fourth set 25-23.
Starting off the fifth set, UCLA redshirt senior middle blocker J.R. Norris IV killed an overpass leading to a Buckeye timeout with a 7-4 score. The Buckeyes were unable to keep up with the Bruins, taking a tough loss 15-8.
The Buckeyes bounced back Saturday and clinched a win in four sets against the Trojans (5-1, 0-0).
In four sets, the Buckeyes dominated with a team total of 55 kills and 10 blocks. Ohio State kept a steady lead through the game.
Ohio State overcame a 20-16 deficit in the first set to take the opening match. The Buckeyes never led in the second set, falling 25-16 as USC tied the game.
Sophomore outside hitter Jacob Pasteur and Lallemand led the team in kills over the first two sets.
The Buckeyes swept the next two sets, winning the third 25-18 before stopping a USC rally in the fourth.
The Trojans tied the fourth set at 17 following an 8-3 run. Lallemand earned the kill to clinch the set and the victory.
The Buckeyes will play away again against Long Beach State at 9 p.m. Friday and UC Santa Barbara at 10 p.m. Saturday in the Battle of the Bigs. The games will be on ESPN+.