Ohio State may have been forced to play a play-in to a play-in, but the sixth-ranked Buckeyes took care of business in an hour, 16 minutes en route to sweeping visiting King on Thursday night.
Ohio State, a 25-13, 25-23, 25-18 winner, moves on to Tuesday’s play-in against UC Irvine in the NCAA’s National Collegiate Men’s Volleyball Championship at UCLA.
In the Pac-12 beach volleyball tournament at Stanford, there were six matches and the higher seed won each time.
Buckeyes advance: The field is down to six as Ohio State (24-5) hit .528. While the MIVA-champion Buckeyes play UCI of the Big West, host UCLA of the MPSF takes on Harvard as top-seeded Long Beach State of the Big West and BYU of the MPSF wait for Thursday’s semifinals. Click here for the NCAA men’s bracket.
Nicolas Szerszen led Ohio State with 14 kills while hitting .619. He had four of his team’s eight service aces, four digs and two blocks. Jake Hanes had 12 kills, hit .588, had an ace, a dig and two blocks. And Blake Leeson had 11 kills with no errors in 13 swings to hit .846. He had an ace and four blocks.
Ohio State has won the last two NCAA titles.
King finished its season 23-6. The champion of the Conference Carolinas — which gets an automatic bid but has never won an NCAA match — got 13 kills from Jeff Sprayberry. He hit .296 and had three digs and a block. Kiel Bell added nine kills, five digs and two blocks.
Pac-12 beach: In order, eighth-seeded Utah beat Oregon 4-1, No. 2 USC beat seventh-seeded Arizona State 4-1, third-seeded Cal topped Washington 4-1, No. 4 Stanford did the same to No. 5 Arizona, top-ranked and No. 1-seeded UCLA swept Utah and then Arizona State ousted Oregon 5-0.
The first match Friday is an 8 a.m. Pacific elimination match between Arizona and Utah. The entire tournament is being televised by the Pac-12 Network or Pac-12.com.
The NCAA Beach Volleyball Championship starts next Friday in Gulf Shores, Ala., and the field of eight includes three teams from the East, three from the West and two at-larges. There are no automatic bids. UCLA is a lock, fifth-ranked USC is likely, and No. 12 Cal is hoping to get in the at-large discussion.