Ohio State, Long Beach State rematch scheduled for 2019 season

Photo courtesy of Long Beach State athletics

The rematch is set for one of the most intense NCAA Tournament matches last season.

Ohio State as part of unveiling its 2019 schedule earlier this week announced it will play a two-match non-conference road series against the defending NCAA champions Long Beach State on Feb. 8-9.

The 49ers defeated the Buckeyes in a 14-point fourth-game overtime at the VolleyFour in May to advance to the NCAA Tournament finals. In addition, Long Beach State days after being the two-time defending NCAA champions Ohio State won its program’s first national title in almost 30 years.

The Buckeyes return multiple all-conference starters that VolleyFour match, including opposite Jake Hanes.

The Off the Block/Springbak, Inc. Freshman All-American finished with both a match-high 21 kills and four aces in the loss to Long Beach State. Hanes also had at least 20 kills in back-to-back NCAA Tournament matches.

All three of Long Beach State’s All-American starters return for their senior seasons in 2019.

Both outside attacker TJ DeFalco, the 2017 AVCA National Player of the Year, and opposite Kyle Ensing averaged more than 3.50 kills per game last season. The two 49ers spent the offseason helping the United States win a bronze medal at the FIVB Volleyball Nations League.

Setter Josh Tuaniga, the 2018 AVCA National Player of the Year, guided the 49ers in 2018 to a .375 attack percentage — the highest team attack percentage during the 25-point rally scoring era.

This two-match series will mark the sixth and seventh times that Long Beach State and Ohio State have played each other this decade. While the 49ers lead the all-time series 3-11, the Buckeyes won the last two regular season meetings in 2016 and 2017.

Long Beach State will be one of the five MPSF and Big West opponents that Ohio State plays in the upcoming season.

The three-time defending MIVA champions will play road matches against BYU on Jan. 10 and Stanford on Jan. 12. It also will travel to play USC and UCLA in March as part of the annual PAC-12/Big Ten Challenge.