COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Ohio State (1-0 overall) women’s volleyball team overcame a slow start to defeat Virginia Commonwealth (0-2), 3-1 (17-25, 25-13, 25-16, 25-16) in the first match of the Sports Imports Classic in St. John Arena Friday. OSU’s Kelli Barhorst posted a career-high 19.5 points with a career-tying 13 kills, two ace serves and six total blocks (3-3). She hit a career-high .750 (13-1-16) in the match. Emily Danks added 14 points with seven kills, four aces, a solo block and four assists with Katie Dull posting 13.5 points with 12 kills, one ace serve and one assist block. VCU’s Mariel Frey recorded a team-high 12 points with 10 kills and two ace serves.
The Rams came out fast in the first set hitting .520 and not recording an error. The Buckeyes hit .276. VCU broke a 3-3 tie with a Courtney Hott kill, an OSU error and two ace serves from Jessica Warner. The Rams never trailed, winning the first set, 25-17, off a Buckeye error.
Ohio State opened set two with a 5-0 scoring run behind the serving of Anna Szerszen. The run began with kills from Dull and Mariah Booth, a Szerszen ace serve and back-to-back assist blocks from Danks and Booth. At 14-9 Buckeyes, a six-point scoring run opened a 20-9 lead. The run included two Ram errors, a Barhorst solo block, two ace serves from Danks and a Dull kill. At 22-13, Ohio State closed out the set with a Szerszen kill, a Ram error and a Szerszen-Booth block to win 25-13 and tie the match at one set each. Ohio State hit .348 in the set to -.136 for VCU.
Tied at three in the third set, Ohio State used a Dull kill and an ace serve from Danks to take a 5-3 lead. At 7-5, a kill from Szerszen and two ace serves from Barhorst gave the Buckeyes a 10-5 lead. A five-point Buckeye run at 15-10 opened a 20-10 OSU lead. Two Ram errors, a Szerszen kill and two from Barhorst complete the run. The Buckeyes reached set point at 24-15 with a Szerszen kill. An OSU error made it 24-16. A Danks-Allie Schwarzwalder block was good for set point at 25-16. OSU hit .294 in the set to -.029 for VCU.
Set four saw the score tied eight times and had five lead changes. A Hott kill tied the game at nine for the last time. A Ram error, solo blocks from Danks and Allie Schwarzwalder and a Dull-Allie Schwarzwalder block gave Ohio State a 13-9 lead. OSU scored the next five points with a Dull kill and ace serve, a Barhorst kill, a Barhorst-Betsy Hone block and a Barhorst block to take a 22-13 lead. A Buckeye error, a Jhessica Martins-Jasmine Waters block and a Frey ace serve cut the lead to 22-16. A Ram error made it 23-16. Back-to-back kills from Allie Schwarzwalder gave OSU the set, 25-16 and a 3-1 victory in the match. Ohio State hit .529 for the set to -.069 for VCU.
For the match, Ohio State hit .340 to .063 for VCU. The Buckeyes had a 48-33 margin in kills and a 43-32 advantage in assists. OSU’s Hone recorded 39 while Ciara Brown had 23 for the Rams. The Buckeyes had a 9-6 advantage in aces with Danks recording a match-high four. OSU gave up 12 service errors to nine for VCU. Defensively, Ohio State had a 47-36 margin in digs with Sarah Mignin recording a career-high 16. At the net, the Buckeyes had a 15 to three advantage in blocks with OSU’s Barhorst posting a match-high six with three solos and three assists.
Ohio State continues play in the Sports Imports Classic Saturday at 11 p.m. when they host Western Michigan (1-0). The Broncos will face Pittsburgh (0-1) at 3 p.m. and the Panthers play host Ohio State at 7 p.m. in the final match of the Classic in St. John Arena.
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