Sept. 3, 2016
COLUMBUS, Ohio – The 12th annual Sports Imports D.C. Koehl Classic ended with a doozy as No. 11 Ohio State (5-1) and No. 10 BYU (6-0) exchanged blows for five sets, ultimately going in favor of the Cougars (19-25, 24-26, 25-14, 25-20, 15-9). The event served a dress rehearsal for the 2016 NCAA Championship, also being held at Nationwide Arena (Dec. 15 & 17).
Taylor Hughes and Luisa Schirmer were named to the all-tournament team. Hughes dished out 10 assists/set for the weekend, adding in 15 kills, six aces and five blocks. Schirmer averaged 2.82 digs and 2.73 kills per set while serving as a primary passer.
Valeria León continued her climb up the Ohio State career digs list, jumping past Leisa Wissler (1,341 digs; 1988-91) and Lisa Vitali (1,331 digs; 1986-89) with her 1,342nd dig. León’s 29 digs Saturday night moved her into third place all-time in school history.
Fast starts were the story of the night as each set’s winner was leading after three points or less and never relinquished that lead. Only one lead change occurred all night as Ohio State went ahead 2-1 after trailing 0-1 in the second set.
The first three points of the night went to Ohio State en route to a 25-19 opener. The Buckeyes attacked .333 and limited BYU to .150. The Cougars made a late push, trimming their deficit to 19-17 and forcing an OSU timeout. The Buckeyes responded to the break in action by snagging six of the next eight tallies and closing the door 25-19.
Set number two witnessed another late run by the Cougars, pulling even at 24-24. Hughes went to her top target, however, for back-to-back terminating connections with Sandbothe. The 26-24 triumph sent Ohio State into intermission leading two-sets-to-none.
Set 3 was controlled early by BYU, building a big enough lead to withstand a 12-3 OSU run to close the frame. The Cougars launched out of the gates in the subsequent set, too, owners of a 6-1 advantage. Ohio State would get within three at 16-13, but couldn’t complete the comeback as BYU forced a fifth and final set.
Another slow start doomed Ohio State in the fifth, falling behind 8-2 as the teams swapped ends of the court. From there, the two squads split the next 14 points for a 15-9 final.
The Scarlet & Gray hit the road next week, trekking to Springfield, Mo., for the Dr. Mary Jo Wynn Invitational (Sept. 9-10) on the campus of Missouri State University. In addition to meeting up with the host Bears, Ohio State is also slated take on IUPUI and Green Bay.