November 12, 2016

Buckeyes Top No. 10 Penn State in Five Heart-Pounding Sets

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Nov. 12, 2016

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COLUMBUS, Ohio — The Ohio State University women’s volleyball team out-lasted No. 10 Penn State in front of the fourth largest crowd in school history (4,415), handing the Nittany Lions an 18-16 loss in the decisive fifth set. Ohio State (17-11, 7-9 Big Ten) recorded its fourth Top-25 victory of the season by knocking off PSU (19-8, 11-5 Big Ten) for the first time since 2006.

Saturday’s triumph marked the 975th in program history (975-550; .639), including a 315-134 (.702) mark inside St. John Arena.

Taylor Hughes did it all, posting a triple-double with 34 assists, 12 digs and 10 kills. It is believed to be the first triple-double by a Buckeye since Oct. 27, 2007 (Brianna McCarthy at Minnesota). Taylor Sandbothe came up just one kill shy of matching her career high of 26 set earlier this season in an OSU win over No. 16 Texas A&M (Aug. 27). The Buckeye middle blocker attacked .320 overall and .351 during Ohio State’s three victorious sets.

Valeria León dug two dozen balls, leading all players. Audra Appold and Abby Fesl both posted double-digit digs as well, registering double-doubles on 10 kills/13 digs for Appold and 27 Fesl assists to go along with her 10 digs.

SET 1: Sandbothe got the party started right away connecting for her first kill on just the second rally of the night en route to a total of eight terminations in the opening frame. Ohio State launched an attack up the middle as Madison Smeathers bounced three of four swings for kills to complement Sandbothe’s outburst. The Buckeyes out-dug Penn State by a 2x ratio, 18-9, in a gritty first-set squeaker. After seeing a 17-13 edge evaporate at 21-21, Ohio State responded well to close out the period, 25-23.

SETS 2-3: Penn State led for the entirety of set number two (25-15) and vast majority of the third. Despite a 5-0-7 attacking stat line by Luisa Schirmer, Ohio State fell behind two-sets-to-one following a 25-19 setback.

SET 4: The OSU offense leaned back on Sandbothe again in the fourth. She accounted for nine of 18 Buckeye kills, attacking .438 for the set. Hughes picked her spots masterfully, delivering kills on all three attempts. Locked up 20-all late in the set, the Taylors took over and hooked up for three kills during a four-point Buckeye run to go ahead 24-20. Penn State fended off a pair of set-point opportunities before yet another Sandbothe kill served as the final dagger at 25-22.

SET 5: Prospects were looking a bit grim for the Scarlet & Gray falling behind 11-8. From there, the Buckeyes executed an onslaught from the pins, however, resulting in three kills for Appold; the first of which evened the ledger at 11-11 and again later pulling even at 13-13. The score evened out at 14-14, 15-15 and 16-16 as well. Back to the outside went consecutive sets from Fesl and Hughes, both of which were put away by Schirmer to close the door, 18-16.

Ohio State embarks on its final regular season road trip next weekend, traveling to the state of Illinois to face Northwestern (Nov. 18) and the Fighting Illini (Nov. 19). Both road tilts set for 8 p.m. ET starts.