September 10, 2016

Buckeyes Split a Pair in Dr. Mary Jo Wynn Invitational

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Sept. 10, 2016

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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — One up, one down for the 12th-ranked Ohio State women’s volleyball team on Friday (Sept. 9), crushing IUPUI (3-6) in the opener before dropping a five-set decision to host Missouri State (5-3) in the nightcap. Ohio State concludes the Dr. Mary Jo Wynn Invitational by squaring off against Green Bay (6-1) on Saturday at 6 p.m. ET.

Match number one was a lopsided, 64-minute affair versus IUPUI as Ohio State outscored the Jaguars by nearly 14 points per set. The Buckeyes also built massive statistical advantages in kills (56 to 14), hitting percentage (.361 to .011), Digs (65 to 32) and service aces (4 to 0). Sophomore teammates Audra Appold and Taylor Hughes each recorded double-doubles with 18 digs and 13 kills for Appold and Hughes’ 41 assists and 10 digs.

Taylor Sandbothe and Madison Smeathers were a formidable force in the middle, combining for 24 kills at a .600 attacking rate. Sandbothe put forth a team-high 17.5 points while Smeathers finished off seven kills on nine attempts in her second career start. Valeria León added 16 more digs to her career total of 1,358 — ranking third in school history.

Ohio State never trailed by more than a point all afternoon and no later than 3-2 in any second set. The Buckeyes came out guns blazing, blowing past the Jaguars 25-9 in the opening period. All-square at 6-6 in set number two, Ohio State erected a 16-2 run fueled by long service stints from both Appold and León to build an insurmountable 22-7 upper hand. The Buckeyes would go to close out the set, 25-13.

Sandbothe and Smeathers ripped a dozen kills in the closing set as Ohio State buried the Jaguars with 21 team kills. Two streaks of five or more consecutive points for the Buckeyes secured victory, rolling to a 25-12 final ledger.

Just two points separated OSU and Missouri State in the evening tilt (108-106 in total points; 21-25, 25-23, 25-21, 22-25, 15-12). The Buckeyes took Sets 1 & 4 while the Bears seized the other three frames, picking up the program’s second victory over a nationally-ranked Big Ten foe this season (MSU also defeated No. 14 Illinois).

Ohio State jumped out to an 8-2 edge in the first set before a quick flurry from the Bears tighten things up again. Clinging to a one-point lead later in the set, Sandbothe came alive for three consecutive kills and sealed the deal 25-21.

The next two sets played out in similar fashion, both tightly-contested scuffles ultimately closed out by late Missouri State spurts.

Set number four saw the most efficient offense of the night on both sides of the net. Ohio State attacked .275 to go along with four service aces, producing just enough offense to get by the Bears 25-22 and force a decisive fifth set. A four-block effort from the Scarlet & Gray was pivotal in Ohio State remaining alive as well.

Missouri State’s three-point cushion at 4-1 to start the fifth set proved to also be the final margin, 15-12 in favor of the Bears.

With her final block of the day, Sandbothe moved into a tie for the third-most total blocks in Ohio State history. Her 455 career rejections are tied with Suzie Stilling (1999-2002).