Sept. 25, 2016
MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. – The No. 17 Ohio State University women’s volleyball team withstood several haymakers from the second-ranked Minnesota Golden Gophers (10-2, 2-0 B1G) to extend Saturday’s match before ultimately falling in four sets (25-16, 25-18, 18-25, 25-22).
Valeria León followed an impressive performance the night prior with another stellar effort vs. Minnesota, digging up 22 balls inside the Sports Pavilion. Ohio State’s senior libero averaged 5.57 digs per set for the weekend. Freshman Madison Smeathers was quite effective from the middle, crushing eight kills on 14 errorless swings for a .571 hitting percentage against UM.
Minnesota raced out of the gates to the tune of an 8-1 edge in the opening set. Ohio State cut the deficit to no less than five tallies the rest of the way, dropping the first frame 25-16.
Set number two saw the Buckeyes grab an early upper hand, going up 4-1. Leading 8-7 minutes later, Ohio State then fell victim to a 12-2 Gopher run pushing Minnesota on top 19-10 and carrying momentum into the locker rooms with a 25-18 triumph right before intermission.
The Buckeyes came alive once play resumed, attacking .359 in the third set. Audra Appold went off for seven kills on 15 attempts to lead the way. A 4-0-6 offensive stat line from Smeathers also helped propel OSU to a 25-18 winner. The Gophers were forced to burn a timeout down 8-3 following a block from ‘Taylor Squared’ (Hughes & Sandbothe), failing to pull back within closer than three points for the remainder of Ohio State’s victorious period.
Back-to-back service aces by Luisa Schirmer midway through Set 4 cut Ohio State’s deficit to a lone tally at 10-9, causing a Minnesota timeout. The Buckeyes would go on to catch Minnesota for two more aces, including a go-ahead service snipe from Camry Halm to make it 19-18. Halm’s ace was countered immediately with a five-point Gopher surge, however, lifting Minnesota ahead for good in the 25-22 match clincher.
St. John Arena opens its doors for the first time in the 2016 season as Ohio State plays the first true home match, hosting Northwestern on Wednesday (Sept. 28) at 6:30 p.m. broadcast live by the Big Ten Network.