Around the Oval: Men's Volleyball Starts Title Defense, No. 22 Women's Gymnastics Drops Meet to No. 6 UCLA and More

By Jimmy Longo on January 8, 2018 at 1:05 pm
Nicolas Szerszen

MVB starts season with straight-set triumph

Fresh off two straight national titles and starting their title defense again for the 2018 season, the Ohio State men's volleyball team rolled to a straight-set win in a tuneup of sorts, defeating North Greenville Jan. 6 in a steady 25-13, 25-18, 25-21 clip.

The first regular season contest was a marker for coach Pete Hansen to get a look at the different players he'll employ on another season — only four players took the floor for the three different sets.

Returning national player of the year Nicolas Szerszen got his campaign off to a hot start with seven kills and eight digs. Reese Devilbiss led the Buckeyes in attacking with 11 kills on the contest.

After Christy Blough had led the setting effort for the Buckeyes for the last four years, Sanil Thomas finally stepped into the spotlight, dishing out 32 assists on the night.

After their early season win, the Buckeyes will be tasked with a tough opponent in No. 8 Stanford Friday night at St. John Arena. All men's volleyball games are free and open to the public. 

No. 6 UCLA deals Buckeye Gymnasts defeat to start 2018

In their first matchup under new head coach Meredith Pulicivic, the No. 22 Ohio State women's gymnastics team dropped a 196.250-193.200 contest to No. 6 UCLA at Pauley Pavilion.

Ohio State scored 48.750 to win the vault with Olivia Aepli tying for second with a score of 9.825.

After Alexis Mattern tied for third in the uneven bars with a score of 9.825, she led the way with a three-way tie for the top spot in floor exercise with a score of 9.9 that contributed to the Buckeyes 48.950 score. 

Overall, Mattern and Stefanie Merkle compiled scored of 38.650, good enough for third in the all-around judgings.

OSU will continue their season as they open up Big Ten action with competition Saturday, Jan. 13 in Ann Arbor.

Swimming starts calendar year swimmingly with three wins

The first competitions of 2018 went well in the pool for the men's and women's swimming teams, as three victories punctuated a nice weekend for the teams.

The 18th-ranked Buckeye men's swimmers dispatched Kentucky in Lexington by a score of 210.50-178.50. Over the two days, the Buckeyes got top finishes from a bevy of swimmers. Mark Belanger (48.74) and Kevin Musterait (20.46) claimed gold in the 100 backstroke and the 50 freestyle respectively to pace day two winners for the men.

Stephen Romanik won the three-meter dive with a 337.05 overall while Henrique Painhas defeated teammate Michael Salazar in the 200 fly by .4 of a second (1:48.42).

Women Win Pair

Highlighted by the season debut of Liz Li and the sensational performance by freshman diver Camryn McPherson, the women's swimming team rolled over No. 15 Kentucky and Toledo in Lexington as well.

McPherson finished the one meter and three meter dives with over 300 points in both, scoring 305.6 and 302.00, respectively.

Li won the 50 meter freestyle with a sub-23 second finish in 22.73. The senior has been an All-American in three previous seasons prior in the event. The Buckeyes had the top four finishers in the event. 

To round things up, Meg Bailey had two individual titles on the weekend to help contribute to the overall score. She won the 200 butterfly with a time of 1:58.37 and the 400 individual medley in 4:14.85.

Overall, Ohio State won six out of eight relays to further guide the victories.

records broken punctuate open to track & field

In the first action of the 2018 season for the track and field program, two Ohio State records fell in the first competition of the year.

Dublin native Sade Olatoye broke the indoor shot put record after a toss of 17.34 meters in the Buckeye Classic. The junior's throw is the second farthest throw across competition in the nation to date. 

The other record broken during the Buckeye Classic for the Buckeyes was in the men's pole vault, as Cole Gorski topped the Ohio State record in the pole vault with a clear of 5.40 meters.

That mark is also the second best mark in the nation this year. Gorski now owns both the indoor and outdoor pole vault records at Ohio State. 

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