Dec. 3, 2016
MANHATTAN, Kan. — Thirty-two points in the fifth set were needed to separate the Buckeyes as victors in an instant classic on the road at No. 14 Kansas State (21-10). The Scarlet & Gray gutted out a 17-15 triumph to cap off the win inside enemy lines (25-20, 25-22, 22-25, 23-25, 17-15). Only sixteen teams remain with a shot at the 2016 national championship to be contested in Columbus, Ohio.
Ohio State (22-12) is one of just 11 schools nationally to reach the NCAA Regional round at least five times since 2010 (`10-11, `14-16). A familiar foe in Big Ten sistren, Wisconsin, awaits the Buckeyes next weekend in Madison (Dec. 9-10).
Taylor Hughes registered her second triple-double of the season, compiling 41 assists, 15 digs and 14 kills. She is now one of 18 players in the country to post multiple triple-doubles in 2016 with only 34 individuals able to muster at least one.
Hughes was joined in the Double-Digit Kills Club by Luisa Schirmer (21), Taylor Sandbothe (12) and Audra Appold; and the Double-Digit Digs Club by Valeria León (24), Appold (17) and Schirmer (10). In addition, Abby Fesl dished out 23 assists.
Sandbothe paced the squad in both hitting percentage (.276) and blocks (1s, 7a). Schirmer and Hughes were also strong up front defensively, recording five and four blocks, respectively.
— OhioStateWVolleyball (@ohiostatewvball) December 4, 2016
SET 1: Kansas State exhausted its timeout limit 11 points into the first set, falling victim to a quick 9-2 deficit. The Buckeye cushion peaked at 23-13 before a six-point KSU run threatened Ohio State’s stranglehold, pulling within in four tallies (23-19). Hughes terminated a pair of Fesl sets down the stretch though, securing a 25-20 triumph.
SET 2: Ohio State found success early and often in the second stanza as well, forcing the first Wildcat timeout following an Ashley Wenz kill for an 8-4 edge. The Buckeyes distanced themselves by swinging .357 and nearly doubling up Kansas State with an 11-6 digs advantage, combining with three stuffs to smolder the Wildcat offense with a .133 efficiency. Ohio State erected a six-point lead, 24-18, and again had to hold off a late KSU surge. Kansas State closed the gap as narrow as 24-22 when Appold spoiled the comeback effort, terminating a set from León for point number 25.
SET 3: Kansas State processed an admirable reboot after intermission, grabbing 10 of the first 15 points in the third. Ohio State responded immediately by accomplishing the same feat to re-even the ledger at 15-all. Stalemate would reemerge at 20-20 and 22-22. Three consecutive Wildcat blocks came next, keeping Kansas State alive as 25-22 winners.
SET 4: A whopping nine lead changes occurred in the fourth, complimenting 13 tied scores in a tightly-contested period. Getting past the Wildcat block proved troublesome again for Ohio State late in the set. Rejections by Katie Reininger and Bryna Vogel broke up a 22-all tie, accounting for Kansas State’s 23rd and 24th points. Vogel then closed the door at 25-23, bouncing a kill and extending the bout into a decisive fifth round.
SET 5: The fifth was a W-I-L-D one to say the least. Despite the truncated framework of a fifth set, the large crowd in attendance and those watching around the country on ESPN3 witnessed 11 tied scores and four lead changes. Ohio State served as the set’s aggressor, blasting 13 kills on 31 attempts with seven errors. Schirmer bounced a half dozen kills individually, nearly matching the Wildcats 7-kill team total. As the teams swapped ends of the court, Kansas State possessed an 8-6 edge. León righted the ship with consecutive out-of-system assists, finding Appold and Schirmer at the pins for kills. The score remained all-square at 9-9, 10-10, 13-13, 14-14 and 15-15. Wenz set up Ohio State’s third match point opportunity, allowing Schirmer to capitalize on a Sweet-16-bound put away at 17-15.
NCAA TOURNAMENT MARKS
Ohio State all-time | 35-21 (.625) in 22 appearances
Geoff Carlston all-time | 15-11 (.577), including 12-6 (.667) at Ohio State
Ohio State has advanced to the NCAA Regionals 16 times
37.5% of the team left in contention are from the Big Ten Conference (six of 16)
The Big Ten is 14-2 (.875) thus far in the 2016 NCAA Tournament