Sept. 17, 2016
MUNCIE, Ind. – The No. 19 Ohio State University women’s volleyball team (10-2) constructed an 85-point gap from its competition at the Ball State Active Ankle Challenge over the weekend, wrapping up the 2016 non-conference slate by downing the host BSU Cardinals in straight sets (25-20, 25-12, 25-14).
Valeria León dug 3.78 balls per set in three OSU sweeps to claim Tournament MVP honors. She was joined on the all-tournament team by teammates Audra Appold and Taylor Sandbothe. Seniors León and Sandbothe have earned all-tourney honors in three of four weekends this season, each named MVP once.
The Buckeyes closed out the road trip by attacking .452 against Ball State, paced by Appold’s .500 hitting percentage on a dozen kills. Taylor Hughes averaged 12 assists per set, connecting with Sandbothe for a match-high 15 kills. Ohio State’s defensive front put forth eight blocks, including five stuffs (2s, 3a) from Madison Smeathers.
Ball State owned a four-point edge midway through the first frame at 16-12 before five straight for OSU pulled the Scarlet & Gray ahead at 17-16. After the Cardinals immediately regained their lead at 18-17, Ohio State rattled off three in a row to jump on top for good. Appold delivered the final tally, pairing with Hughes for point number 25.
Four Buckeye blocks came in the second stanza, all of which Smeathers was a part of. The blocking brigade was accompanied by 15 kills, 14 digs and two service aces – formulating a 25-17 OSU winner. The first 20 points were split evenly before Ohio State took 15 of the next 22 rallies for the triumph.
Good times continued to roll in the third as Ohio State posted a 25-14 exclamation point. The Buckeyes turned up the heat attacking .519 and putting away 16 kills in the convincing clincher.
Big Ten play awaits Sept. 23-24 when the Buckeyes travel to Wisconsin and Minnesota for the start of conference action.