Consider it the opening argument for why outside attacker Nicolas Szerszen should repeat as the AVCA National Player of the Year.
Szerszen had a match-high 17 kills on a .500 attack percentage as No. 1 Ohio State defeated No. 2 UCLA 25-22, 18-25, 25-21, 25-23 at the AVCA Showcase on Saturday in Columbus, Ohio.
Szerszen had eight of his kills in the final two games of the match-up between the top two teams in the nation. The All-American and 2017 Preseason MIVA Player of the Year also had a team-high seven digs and added two aces.
Ohio State had three players with double-digit kills and out-hit UCLA .309 to .259, including having a match-best .440 attack percentage in the final game. All-American opposite Miles Johnson had 12 kills and outside attacker Maxime Hervoir contributed 10 kills.
Setter Christy Blough also had a match-high four aces as the Buckeyes finished with nine aces — five more than the Bruins.
Ohio State overcame having a season-high 26 service errors. Both teams ended match committing a combined 44 service errors.
Outside attacker Jake Arnitz in the loss led UCLA with both 16 kills on a .440 attack percentage and two aces.
UCLA defensively out-blocked Ohio State 10 to 8. All-American setter Micah Ma’a led all players with five blocks and Arnitz added three blocks.
This is the second consecutive time Ohio State has beaten UCLA. The Buckeyes rallied to beat the Bruins in five games at the NCAA Tournament semifinals en route to winning the 2016 national championship.