The early-season success for freshman outside attacker Alex Nikolov just went to another level.
Nikolov led all players with a season-high 24 kills on a .500 attack percentage as No. 3/3 Long Beach State defeated No. 9/9 Ohio State 24-26, 25-20, 25-15, 25-22 on Friday in Long Beach, California.
This was the fourth consecutive match that Nikolov finished with double-digit kills. In addition, the freshman has now hit at least .400 in three matches during that stretch to help the Beach (5-0, 0-0 Big West) remain undefeated.
Nikolov had more than five kills in each of the final three games against the Buckeyes, including a game-high seven kills in the last game.
Setter Aidan Knipe had 49 assists and guided the Beach offense to out-hit the Buckeyes .431 to .337. Long Beach State had more than a .390 attack percentage in every game, while Ohio State (4-2, 0-0 MIVA) in the loss hit more than .400 in two games.
Along with Nikolov, outside attacker Spencer Oliver contributed 16 kills and hit .382. Outside attacker Clarke Godbold also had nine kills on a .368 attack percentage and a match-high three aces.
Samuel Clark in the loss led Ohio State with both 18 kills and two aces.
Long Beach State out-blocked Ohio State 10 to 3 and all of its starters had multiple blocks in the non-conference win. Middle attacker Simon Torwie led all players with five blocks, while middle attacker Shane Holdaway and Nikolov each contributed four blocks.
This victory extends the Beach’s home streak to nine matches dating back to the 2020 season. The team will continue its home stand as it plays No. 4/4 Penn State on Saturday.
Penn State suffered a three-game loss to UC Santa Barbara on Friday for its third consecutive loss