The No. 11 Buckeyes fell to No. 2 UCLA on Friday, but took a win against No. 12 in Southern California at Pauley Pavilion on Saturday.
Ohio State’s (4-1, 0-0) trip to California marked the first time the Buckeyes strayed outside of Columbus this season. Both games 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 25-18 win in the first set.
It went up and down to start the second set. After a few long rallies, the Bruins jumped 15-8, forcing Ohio State into a timeout. After timeout, junior middle blocker Samuel Clark continued his murder and brought Ohio State the score at 20-14.
After a heavy 25-15 loss in the second set, the Buckeyes came back and continued to fight in the third and fourth set. The Buckeyes came out of the third set with a 25-23 win and had to take the fourth set to push the Bruins into the final set.
Back-to-back kills by senior outside hitter Martin Lallemand and set-winning block by redshirt sophomore center blocker Justin Howard, the Buckeyes took the fourth set 25-23.
Starting in the fifth set, UCLA redshirt senior center blocker JR Norris IV killed a crossover leading to a Buckeye timeout with a 7-4 score. The Buckeyes could not keep up with the Bruins and took a heavy loss 15-8.
The Buckeyes recovered on Saturday to take a four-set win against the Trojans (5-1, 0-0).
The Buckeyes dominated in four sets with a team total of 55 kills and 10 blocks. Ohio State maintained a steady lead through the game.
Ohio State overcame a 20-16 deficit in the first set to win the opening game. The Buckeyes never led in the second set, falling 25-16 as USC tied the game.
Sophomore wingers Jacob Pasteur and Lallemand led the team in the first two sets.
The Buckeyes won the next two sets and won the third 25-18 before stopping a USC rally in the fourth.
The Trojans took 17 in the fourth set after an 8-3 run. Lallemand deserved the kill to take the set and win.
The Buckeyes will face Long Beach State again at 9 p.m. Friday and UC Santa Barbara at 10 p.m. Saturday in the Battle of the Bigs. The games are on ESPN+.