The 19th ranked Buckeyes women’s volleyball team stopped Northwestern in a three-set victory to pick up their first Big Ten win, 11th overall (11-4 & 1-2 Big 10). Playing in Columbus to a well-received crowd of enthusiastic supporters, the Buckeyes would not disappoint.
Valeria León dominated defensively as she averaged over seven digs per set, having 22 in total as the Buckeyes out-dug the Wildcats (7-8, 0-3 Big 10) by 50% (60-40).
León has now upped her career digs total to 1,494 – just 78 away from matching the school record held by Stacey Gordon (1,572 digs; 2001-04).
A formidable blocking unit produced six stuffs before intermission and helped to keep Northwestern at bay with a .085 attack percentage. The Buckeyes commanded with a .257 along with a 14-kill advantage (44 to 30). Luisa Schirmer and Taylor Sandbothe would each terminate 13 kills.
Schirmer notched her third double-double of the year with 10 digs while Sandbothe accounted for 4.5 more points with her five block assists as she also produced a pair of service aces.
The Buckeyes seemingly owns Northwestern in their overall match-up(s), 53-20. In St John’s the advantage is quite remarkable, 28-6 mark. The Buckeyes have won the last four consecutive matches against the Wildcats.
SET 1: The Buckeyes came out of the gates with an impressive run, a 5-1 surge. But the Wildcats would not be so slack as they battled hard to go ahead 9-8. The Buckeyes then would turn it around with four tallies in a row. Before this set concluded the Buckeyes would knock-off three consecutive points or more on five separate occasions – the last breaking an 18-18 stand-still. It raised the Buckeyes to a 22-18 advantage, keeping them ahead for good. OSU won the set 25-21.
SET 2: It quickly seemed as if, for some odd reason, Northwestern lost some gas in this set. The back and forth that represented Set One – wasn’t in the making here. The Buckeyes owned 16 of the final 22 rallies as they strolled to a 25-12 whitewashing. The Buckeyes stuffed the Wildcats five times and dug 22 balls. Northwestern showed a negative hitting efficiency by the ending buzzer, -.077. A six-point stretch for freshman Camry Halm at the service stripe locked the set to the Buckeyes favor late in the set.
SET 3: This would be different – as Northwestern came out with the intent to express that they were no push-over – building an edge as large as 11-5. But the Buckeyes took a deep breath and stepped up to their potential after burning a timeout in order to recover. And recover they in fact did – bring it to an even 22-22. The door was closed on the Wildcats with a thrilling final set as the Buckeyes posted a 28-26 set win.
OSU again hits the road. They now travel to Lincoln, Nebraska, meeting up with the nations # 1 team, Saturday (Oct., 1st @ 8:30 p.m. ET.)
See you there!