Sept. 10, 2017
NOTRE DAME, Ind. — The Fighting Irish obtained revenge of sorts in the second of two meetings with Ohio State this weekend, rebounding from victimization of a Friday sweep in Columbus by besting the Buckeyes in four sets (25-22, 21-25, 25-14, 25-17) on Sunday. The story of the day for Ohio State was freshman libero Hannah Gruensfelder and her astonishing 38 digs, the most ever by a Buckeye in a four-set contest.
Gruensfelder’s digging explosion surpassed the previous four-set mark of 35 digs by Valeria Leon versus Arizona in 2015 and is the second-highest total overall (Julie Chellevold dug 41 balls in a five-set match back in 1990). Her season average expands to 5.03 digs per set, good for the top spot in the entire Big Ten Conference. Ohio State’s 109 team digs total versus Notre Dame cracks the Top-20 in school history, fueled by Audra Appold (17), Luisa Schirmer (16) and Taylor Hughes (14) each contributing heavily as well.
Set 1: Gruensfelder had it going from the jump, digging a dozen balls in the opening frame. Offensively, Ohio State was pushed by Hughes’ 11 assists and four kills, along with a combined 10 kills from Schirmer and Ashley Wenz on the outside. The 11th tie of the afternoon came at 21-21 and represented the start of a 5-1 Irish run to conclude the set, 25-22.
Set 2: Another dozen digs by Gruensfelder was supplemented by nine and seven kills, respectively, by Wenz and Madison Smeathers as Hughes divvied out 19 assists and the Buckeyes attacked nearly .300 as a team. Ohio State pulled even at one set apiece with a 25-21 triumph.
Set 3: The wheels came off a bit in the third. Notre Dame tallied six blocks and the Buckeyes added six unforced attacking errors for a hitting percentage in the red (-.064). A 7-point spurt early on pushed the Fighting Irish ahead for good en route to the 25-14 winner.
Set 4: Ohio State impeded the Notre Dame hot streak to begin the fourth, going ahead 4-1, but couldn’t withstand the eventual barrage resulting in a 25-17 clincher for the Fighting Irish.
Next up is the Buckeye Invitational hosted in Columbus, split between St. John Arena (Friday, Sept. 15) and the Capital Center in Bexley (Saturday, Sept. 16). Ohio State welcomes Dayton, Northern Illinois and Western Kentucky to central Ohio for the round-robin competition.