Ohio State outlasted UCLA in the NCAA semifinals Thursday night, using a late run and clutch hitting to win in five sets 22-25, 25-22, 25-21, 20-25, 18-16.
After winning the fourth set stave off elimination, UCLA, playing in its first national semifinal since 2006 when it won the championship, built an 8-5 lead in the fifth set. But Ohio State came back with a 5-1 run to take the lead 10-9.
The No. 2 Bruins inched ahead late, getting three match points, but each time, Ohio State was up to the task. Twice, the No. 3 Buckeyes answered with kills, while UCLA gave one away on a service error. The Bruins had 26 service errors on the match to just five aces, while Ohio State had 20 service errors to nine aces.
The Buckeyes needed only one match point to win it as national player of the year Nicolas Szerszen hit a vicious ace to send Ohio State to the national final, where they will face No. 1 BYU.
Jake Arnitz led UCLA with 18 kills. J.T. Hatch had 13 kills and 12 digs. Mitch Stahl had 11 kills and four block assists. Oliver Martin had 11 kills, three solo blocks and two block assists.