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Sep 6, 2013

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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – The No. 23 Ohio State women’s volleyball team defeated No. 16 Western Kentucky in a five-set thriller, 3-2 (23-25, 27-25, 21-25, 25-20, 15-11), Friday in the opening match of the Four Points by Sheraton Seminole Invitational in Tallahassee, Fla. Ohio State improved to 4-0 with the win, while the Hilltoppers fell to 3-2.

Senior Kaitlyn Leary picked up her second double-double of the season, totaling a match-high 20 kills and adding 10 digs. The Parma, Ohio, product has record 20 or more kills in all four matches this season. Freshman Taylor Sandbothe tied a season-best with 15 kills and had three blocks assists, while classmate Kylie Randall finished with 11 kills and three block assists.

Senior libero Davionna DiSalvatore led the Buckeye defense with 16 digs. Middle blockers Anna Faul and Andrea Kacsits each tied a career-high in blocks as both finished with eight (1s, 7a) in the win. Leary set a career-best in blocks, having five block assists.

WKU was led by Heather Boyan and Paige Wessel with 15 kills apiece, while Boyan totaled a team-high seven blocks (3s, 4a). Libero Ashley Potts finished with 23 digs and setter Melanie Stutsman had 47 assists with eight kills.

The two squads kicked of the first set exchanging points before kills by Leary and Randall gave Ohio State an 8-7 lead. WKU responded with a 5-1 run to jump out to a 12-9 advantage. A Kacsits kill and service ace brought the Buckeyes within two at 17-15 and a kill by Leary sent the squad on a four-point rally to tie the set at 20. The Hilltoppers, however, went on to take set one, 25-23.

Set two was a battle between the two teams with neither one advancing more than three points ahead of the other. The Buckeyes took a quick lead at 4-3 and service ace from Taylor Sherwin led to a 9-7 advantage. Ohio State’s largest lead came at 18-15, but the Hilltoppers responded with a 4-0 run to take the lead at 20-19. A kill by Sandbothe triggered a three-point rally for a 22-20 advantage and a Kacsits/Randall blocked sealed the set, 27-25.

WKU opened the third with an early 4-2 lead and held on to its slim margin in the beginning of the third set. A kill by Leary locked the set at 10 apiece, but the Hilltoppers utilized a 4-0 run to build their lead to 16-11. The Buckeye blockers brought the team within a point at 19-18, but another long WKU rally led to a 25-21 Hilltopper win.

Ohio State responded quickly in set four and jumped out to an 8-2 advantage. However, WKU battled back to make it a set and tied it up at 10. Back-to-back Buckeye blocks pushed Ohio State ahead at 13-10 and a kill by Kascits set the score at 16-14. A Leary kill followed by a pair of Hilltopper errors led to a 20-15 advantage and the Buckeyes forced a fifth set with a 25-20 victory.

A pair of kills by Leary led to a 3-2 lead to open the final set and another Leary kill sent the squad on a 6-1 run for a 10-6 advantage. The Hilltoppers came within a point at 12-11, but a kill by Sandbothe and back-to-back aces by Julianne Mandolfo led to a 15-11 win.