Cole Bogner walked back to the service line in game three, and instantly the Ohio State bench began to heckle the setter about needing a toupe.
Bogner didn’t need to say anything back. Instead, the All-American simply delivered an ace to extend Penn State’s lead.
There was just no getting the EIVA Player of the Year out of the zone.
Bogner guided the offense to a .359 attack percentage as Penn State defeated Ohio State 25-22, 24-26, 25-13, 26-24 in the NCAA Tournament opening round on Tuesday in Fairfax, Virginia.
Opposite Cal Fisher led Penn State with 18 kills on a .533 attack percentage, including having a combined nine kills in the final two games. The All-American also had three aces with his final ace coming in the fourth-game overtime to set up the match-point.
Fisher was one of three Nittany Lions with more than five kills against the Buckeyes.
Outside attacker Michal Kowal had nine kills on a .500 attack percentage, while outside attacker Brett Wildman added nine kills.
Kowal also had three aces as the Nittany Lions finished with 10 aces – six more aces than the Buckeyes.
Ohio State finished with a .256 attack percentage but was hit less than .200 in each of the final two games.
Freshman opposite Shane Wetzel in the loss led all players with 20 kills on a .484 attack percentage. Ohio State middle attackers Justin Howard and Cole Young also each had seven kills and zero attack errors.
All-American outside attacker Jacob Pasteur had 16 kills but was limited to a .043 attack percentage.
Pasteur entered the NCAA Tournament in the MIVA’s top 10 with both a 3.86 kills per game average and a .320 attack percentage. The outside attacker also had at least 14 kills and a .400 attack percentage in three postseason matches.
Penn State in the victory out-blocked Ohio State 11 to 4 highlighted with middle attacker Owen Rose having a match-high eight blocks and Fisher having seven blocks.
The Nittany Lions overcame a three-point deficit midway through the fourth game and then fought off a game-point to force overtime. The team in the overtime secured the win on an attack error from Pasteur.
Penn State hit a match-best .562 and committed one error in its third-game win. In addition, the Nittany Lions ended on an 8-1 run that featured Kowal having a block, kill and an ace.
Wetzel in the second-game led all players with seven kills, including having a kill to set up a game-point for the Buckeyes.
The Nittany Lions fought off two game-points to force overtime. However, the Buckeyes responded and ended the overtime with a kill from Pasteur on an overpass to even the match.
Fisher closed out the first game with an ace and contributed three kills in the three-point win.
None of Penn State’s pin-hitters in the opening game committed an error as the Nittany Lions hit .450.
Penn State will advance to play the No. 2 overall seed Hawai’i in the NCAA Tournament semifinals on Thursday.
Hawai’i earned a top-two seed and bye to the NCAA Tournament semifinals after winning the Big West Tournament championship.