Oct. 11, 2014

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COLUMBUS, Ohio – For the first time in school history, the Ohio State women’s volleyball team has recorded back-to-back-to-back wins with all three opponents ranked in the Top-25. It all started last Saturday (Oct. 4) when the Buckeyes marched into Lincoln and earned a five set road victory over #8 Nebraska, followed by home triumphs over #15 Illinois and #24 Northwestern this week.

Ohio State topped the Wildcats 25-21, 26-24, 17-25, 25-17 Saturday night (Oct. 11) to improve to 13-5 overall and 4-2 in Big Ten play riding a four-match conference winning streak. It was a complete team effort as 15 different Buckeyes played in the contest. Fourteen players tallied at least one kill or dig. The friendly confines of St. John Arena have treated the Buckeyes nicely thus far as OSU has gone 5-0 at home.

Taylor Sandbothe racked up 16 kills while swinging at a .483 clip (16-2-29) and putting up four blocks (1s, 3b). Valeria León roamed the backcourt, picking up a match-high 19 kills. Senior setter Taylor Sherwin posted a double-double for the third straight match, assisting on 46 of Ohio State’s 56 kills to go along with 10 digs.

Sandbothe got it going early and often, striking five kills on eight errorless swings in the opening frame. Her fifth kill of the set was good for point number 25. The score was tied 11 different times in the set, including as late as 20-20. Sandbothe broke that tie with a kill and ignited Ohio State’s late 5-1 run to seal the deal.

Northwestern took the reins for much of the second set, trailing only twice throughout. However, the most important time to be on top is obviously at the end, and that’s exactly what the Buckeyes did. A Wildcat service error on match point opened the door for Ohio State to make a late push. The Northwestern gaffe evened the score at 24-24. Sandbothe and Elizabeth Campbell then combined for a block and León rifled a service ace to cap off the 26-24 winner.

Set number three did not go as smoothly. The Wildcats built an eight-point lead at 13-5 and stayed alive with a 25-17 set victory. Northwestern attacked at a .538 clip in the frame to force a fourth.

It was Ohio State’s turn go up eight points in the fourth set, owners of a 17-9 edge. While the offense struggled to the tune of a .178 attack percentage, León (eight digs herself) and the defense took care of it with 19 digs. Ohio State rejected three Wildcat attacks as well, limiting Northwestern to a putrid .057 hitting rate. The Buckeyes eventually finished it off 25-17.

It’s back to life on the road for Ohio State next weekend, heading to the state of Indiana for 7 p.m. matches at Indiana and #14 Purdue on Friday (Oct. 17) and Saturday (Oct. 18).