OXFORD, Miss. – The Ohio State women’s volleyball team split a pair of matches on opening day of the Rebel Invitational. The Buckeyes (4-1) battled back to go the distance with Southern Miss (3-1) for a 3-2 win (21-25, 25-20, 23-25, 27-25, 15-9) before they fell to Ole Miss (4-1) in five sets (29-27, 17-25, 14-25, 25-22, 13-15) in the nightcap.
The Buckeyes erased a 2-1 deficit to claim their first five-set victory of the season against Southern Miss to open the Rebel Invitational.
Three players tallied double figures in kills – Mia Grunze (16), Vanja Bukilić (15) and Lauren Witte (12). Those marks were career highs for Grunze and Bukilić.
Olivia Dailey contributed 48 assists and seven digs while Jordan Fry tallied seven kills and four blocks. Defensively, Hannah Gruensfelder and Bia Franklin dug 14 and 12 balls, respectively. Franklin also had seven kills and Camry Halm had eight digs and two service aces.
The Buckeyes overcame 12 ties and four lead changes throughout the fourth and fifth sets for the win.
Bukilić (15), Grunze (13) and Witte (10) led the offensive charge for the Buckeyes, combining for 38 of the team’s 54 kills. Dailey handed out 39 helpers with eight digs. Halm chipped in 17 digs, followed by Gruensfelder with 14. Fry and Witte both had four blocks while Witte, Halm and Becca Mauer served two aces each.
Ohio State started the match with an extended rally that ended in its favor on a 29-27 decision. The squad went on to trail Ole Miss, 2-1, but forced a fifth set. The Buckeyes scored four unanswered points late in the fifth, which sent the Rebels to their bench. Unfortunately, it was not enough in the end.
Ohio State concludes its time down south on Saturday afternoon when it challenges Samford at 12:30 p.m. ET/11:30 a.m. CT.