COLUMBUS, Ohio – No. 6 UC Irvine toppled No. 1 Ohio State, 3-0 (28-26, 25-19, 25-20) at St. John Arena, snapping the Buckeyes' 42-match winning streak.
UCI wins its fourth straight match and seventh in the last eight outings to improve to 15-6 overall. Ohio State suffers its first loss in 399 days and goes to 19-1 on the season.
Three Anteaters had double-digit kills led by junior Aaron Koubi's match-high 13, while hitting .455. Seniors Tamir Hershko and Thomas Hodges each added 11 kills. Libero Dillon Hoffman and middle blocker Matthew Younggren were impressive with Hoffman recording 14 digs and Younggren rejecting five total blocks. Setter Michael Saeta hit .833 (5-0-6) and recorded 27 set assists, two aces and eight digs. Scott Stadick had three kills and three total blocks in the win.
The Anteaters out-hit OSU .361 to .222 and had a 35-23 dig advantage. The Buckeyes led in aces (9-3) and blocks (9-8).
The Buckeyes were led by Miles Johnson with 12 kills and Maxime Hervoir with 11.
Ohio State used a 4-0 run to take a 9-6 advantage then another 5-0 run that included two blocks and an ace to put the Buckeyes in front 16-10. The Anteaters rallied with six straight on two kills each by Hodges and Aaron Koubi, a block by Matthew Younggren and a Buckeye attack error to knot the score at 17-17. UCI would take a 19-18 lead on a kill by Tamir Hershko and a block by Younggren and Michael Saeta. Back-to-back kills by Koubi and Hershko gave UCI the 28-26 victory. It was only the second time all year that the Buckeyes have dropped the opening set, the last Jan. 6 in the season opener against USC.
A kill by Koubi was followed by two more from Saeta to put the Anteaters up 11-8 in the second set. Younggren took over at the net with two blocks to help UCI to a 21-15 lead. Two OSU errors plus a kill by Hodges gave UCI set point 24-17. The Buckeyes would score the next two to force a UCI timeout before a Scott Stadick block ended the set, 25-19.
In the third set, a kill by Stadick and consecutive OSU attack errors built a 7-3 lead. Ohio State rallied with four in a row, two from aces, to knot the score at 9-9. Kills by Saeta and Hershko pushed the margin back to 11-9. Another OSU attack error was followed by an ace by Saeta and a block by Stadick forcing a Buckeye timeout, 14-10. Out of the timeout, Saeta fired another ace and Stadick put away a kill to extend the lead to 16-10. After an OSU kill, the Anteaters had kills by Hodges and Hershko and a block by Stadick and Koubi to push the score to 19-11. After kills by Koubi and Hershko gave UCI set point, 24-16, the Anteaters watched Ohio State score four points before a kill by Hershko ended the match, 25-20.
UCI remains on the road traveling to Pepperdine Mar. 25 at Firestone Fieldhouse.