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Dec. 12, 2015

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VIDEO: Post-match Press Conference —> https://t.co/KdK0cEDhbw

— OhioStateWVolleyball (@ohiostatewvball) December 12, 2015

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LEXINGTON, Ky. – The Ohio State University women’s volleyball team pushed the AVCA’s top-ranked school in the country to a fifth set before falling to Washington (31-2) in a 15-8 final tally (23-25, 25-20, 25-18, 12-25, 15-8). Ohio State wraps up the season 25-10 overall after advancing to the NCAA ‘Sweet 16’ for the fourth time since 2010.

Elizabeth Campbell racked up 24 kills at a .315 attacking pace, including five put-aways in the truncated final set alone. She added in 12 digs for her 12th double-double of the season and 19th as a Buckeye. Taylor Hughes notched her double-double midway through the second stanza, heading into intermission with 20 assists and 14 digs. She ended the evening with 44 assists, a career-high 22 digs, five blocks and five kills.

Middle blockers Tyler Richardson and Taylor Sandbothe were a major factor as well, combining for 18 kills, five solo blocks and seven block assists. Valeria León added 16 digs to her season total, running the mark to 564. While her digs total is two shy of Sarah Mignin’s all-time school record of 566 in 2011, León averaged 4.31 digs per set for the highest rate in Ohio State history. Junior classmate, Sandbothe, also etched her name into the OSU record books. Her 160 total blocks are the second-highest season total ever for a Buckeye (Dawn McDougall, 168 blocks in 1989).

The opening set was a wild one to say the least. Neither team could build a lead greater than two points until a block from Taylor Squared (Hughes & Sandbothe) lifted Ohio State ahead 19-16. Washington stormed back, however, knotting the ledger at 20-all for the 12th tied score of the set. All was square again at 23-23 when the setter-to-setter connection of Emily Ruetter and Hughes paired up for a go-ahead kill. Richardson followed with a no-doubter solo stuff, sending back Lianna Sybeldon’s attack straight to the hardwood with little-to-no chance of a rebuttal; and the Buckeyes held a one-set advantage over the country’s No. 1 squad. The 25-23 OSU triumph represented just the 16th set defeat Washington had suffered all season.

Ohio State remained sizzling to begin set number two, capturing four of the first five points. The Buckeyes then maintained the upper hand until a four-point Huskie run turned a 14-13 Buckeye edge into a 17-14 lead for UW. The next two tallies went in favor of the Scarlet & Gray but the momentum wasn’t sustained and Washington evened the match one set apiece, 25-20.

Despite a seven-kill effort from Campbell in the third frame, the final result was a similar 25-18 victory for Washington. Seven attacking errors plagued the Buckeyes and UW swung .265 to seize its second set of the match.

Undeterred, Campbell continued to bring it in the set number four to tune of a half dozen kills on 10 errorless attempts. Ohio State out-dug the Huskies, 15-11, and threw up four blocks to separate from the opposition. Following a UW ace to cut Ohio State’s lead to two at 9-7, the Buckeyes constructed a set-ending 16-5 run to force a fifth set.

The Buckeyes then ran into a fifth set buzzsaw though as Washington attacked .571 by terminating eight kills with no errors on 14 cuts and executing at an elite level from the service stripes. The Huskies jumped out to an early lead and never looked back in a 15-8 clincher. Ohio State was inches away from making it a 7-5 ball game when a Huskie dug a ball with her foot, which led to a back-breaking point against the Buckeyes. Campbell went out with five kills in her final collegiate frame.