The defending-NCAA champions will remain on its home court to play some of the nation’s top teams.
Ohio State as part of unveiling its 2017 schedule during the weekend announced it will have five non-conference home matches against MPSF opponents in the upcoming season.
All of the Buckeyes’ home matches versus MPSF teams are part of four-team weekend events at St. John’s Arena throughout the season.
Ohio State will continue its annual season-opening invitational with Penn State, UCLA and USC that will feature home matches against the Trojans and Bruins. In addition, Ohio State will play Long Beach State on Jan. 28 as part of an event that includes Barton and St. Francis.
Along with these early-season matches, Ohio State and Ball State will have non-conference matches versus both UC Irvine and UC San Diego in March at St. John’s Arena.
This is the most home matches versus MPSF teams in a single-season throughout Buckeyes’ program history. Ohio State before the 2017 season did not have a combined five home matches against MPSF schools this decade.
Ohio State enters the upcoming season attempting to repeat as national champions and will play host to the NCAA Tournament in May. Among the majority of starters returning from the Buckeyes’ championship team includes outside attacker Nicolas Szerszen, the 2016 AVCA National Player of the Year, and All-American setter Christy Blough.
Both UCLA and Long Beach will travel to Ohio State after earning the only at-large bids to the NCAA Tournament last season.
UCLA returns almost all of its starters from 2016, including sophomore All-American setter Micah Ma’a. Their opening-weekend match against the Buckeyes will also be the first meeting between the two teams since Ohio State defeated UCLA in five games in the NCAA Tournament semifinals in May.
Long Beach State with three Off the Block/Springbak, Inc. Freshmen All-Americans also reached the 2016 NCAA Tournament semifinals. In addition, both Freshman All-American setter Josh Tuaniga and Freshman All-American opposite Kyle Ensing helped lead the U.S. Men’s Junior National Team to a gold medal at the NORCECA Continental Championship this summer.
UC Irvine one-year removed from the NCAA Tournament semifinals endured an injury-plagued 2016 season and finished in eighth place in the MPSF. UC San Diego and USC both missed the postseason last season.
Beyond its matches against MPSF teams, Ohio State will have three more home non-conference matches against teams that finished last season in the national rankings.
Ohio State will play host to George Mason on Jan. 10 and will have home-and-home series against both Penn State and St. Francis throughout the upcoming season.