King was so, so close to becoming the third Conference Carolinas team to win a set in the NCAA men’s Division I-II volleyball tournament.

So close.

But in the end Sunday at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia, Ohio State prevailed 25-20, 25-16, 36-34 with a third set that had all that and more.

So the sixth-seeded Buckeyes (23-9), champions of the MIVA, move on to another “opening-round” match, this time on Tuesday against third-seeded Penn State. The winner advances to Thursday semifinals against second-seeded Hawai’i.

Conference Carolinas has been getting automatic NCAA bids since 2014 and had been getting swept each time except in 2019 when Barton took a set off Princeton. Finally last season, North Greenville opened with a sweep of Princeton before getting swept by Hawai’i.

NCAA action resumes Tuesday:

Long Beach State vs. Grand Canyon, 5 p.m., ESPN+
Penn State. vs. Ohio State, 7:30 p.m., ESPN+
UCLA vs. Long Beach-GCU winner, 5 p.m.,
Hawai’i vs. Penn State/Ohio State winner, 7:30 p.m,
Championship match, 5 p.m., ESPN2ESPN+ESPN3 (Español)
Ohio State, which has won 12 matches in a row, got 16 kills — 10 in the third set — from Jacob Pasteur. He had three errors in 21 attacks to hit .619 and had two assists, two blocks and four digs. In the third set, he hit .538 with three errors in 13 attacks.

Shane Wetzel had 11 kills, hit .304, and had an assist, four blocks and six digs. Jack Stevens had seven kills, an assist, Ohio State’s only ace, three blocks and five digs. Justin Howard added five kills, four blocks and a dig. Setter Michael Wright had two kills in three errorless tries, 43 assists, two blocks and five digs. His team hit .310 and had 14 serving errors. Thomas Poole added 10 digs and an assist.

Warren Davis had 13 kills — eight in the third set — for King to go with a block and five digs. Kellan Kennedy had eight kills, hit .385, and had an assist and two blocks, one solo. King his .232 and had zero aces and 15 errors.

In the third set, King trailed 24-22 but tied it on kills by Kennedy and Davis. The Tornado had three match points. Ohio State had seven chances to end before finally winning on an attack error by Davis.

King, making its second NCAA appearance, ended its season 16-16. The Tornado were the third seed in the Conference Carolinas tournament but knocked off No. 2 Erskine and then top-seeded North Greenville to get the league’s automatic bid.

This was the second NCAA meeting between the teams. Ohio State also swept their first-round match in 2018.

Cole Young of Ohio State hits against King/OSU photo


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