The Buckeyes Women’s Volleyball team started the weekend as the 19th ranked team in the nation. By Saturday they would wind up 23rd.
It all started Friday the 14th in St. John’s Arena as the Buckeyes fell to the second ranked Cornhuskers of Nebraska (15-1 & 6-1 in Big Ten) who avenged their lone loss of the season (Oct., 1st) in Lincoln against this same Buckeyes team. OSU (12-7 & 2-5 in Big Ten) squared off with Nebraska, pushing the defending national champions to a 27-25 fourth frame (25-20,25-20, 23-25, 27-25).
Taylor Sandbothe eliminated a three-error start to her night by attacking .347 for the remainder of the evening. She racked up 24.5 points by the evening’s conclusion, enacting 19 kills, seven blocks and a service ace. Fellow middle, Madison Smeathers, was effective in her 17 attempts – putting away eight kills at a .353 attacking rate.
Valeria León continued her campaign to become Ohio State’s all-time digs holder. The Buckeye libero dug 16 balls and is now 20 digs from surpassing record-holder Stacey Gordon (1,572 digs; 2001-04). León lifted her career digs average to 3.46 per set, overtaking sole possession of the top slot in school history (Chelsea Noble – 3.45/set; 2008-09). Taylor Hughes and Luisa Schirmer each posted 13 digs against the Huskers.
The now 23rd Ohio State University women’s volleyball squad returned to their winning ways with a commanding performance against Iowa on Saturday, also in St. John’s Arena. They outscored the Hawkeyes in three sets (25-15, 25-22, 25-9). Finally being the spoiler, the Buckeyes ceased the most effective start for the Hawkeyes since 1988. They handled Iowa in a controlled and poised manner while having them realize their fifth loss while improving to 13-7 overall (3-5 Big Ten) themselves.
A balanced offensive attack led to Ohio State attacking .384 as a team with four different Buckeyes recording seven or more kills. Taylor Sandbothe paced the squad terminating 11 kills at a .476 attacking clip. Audra Appold bounced 10 kills while hitting .316 to go along with seven kills apiece for Taylor Hughes (.500 attacking) and Madison Smeathers (.700 attacking). Ohio State created offense from the service stripe as well, totaling eight aces with half coming in quick fashion on four Luisa Schirmer aces during a five-point span building an early third-set edge.
Defensive offerings also arrived from a surplus of players. Valeria León continued to close in on the Ohio State career digs record, moving to within 20 more of overcoming Stacey Gordon (1,572 digs; 2001-04) for the top spot in Buckeye history. Eight additional Buckeyes dug at least ball.
The Buckeyes now head East to visit Penn State in Happy Valley. It will be a midweek challenge – Wednesday (Oct. 19) at 8 p.m. ET which will be live on the BTN.
I will see you there.