COLUMBUS, Ohio – The No. 10 Ohio State women’s volleyball team (23-5, 13-5 Big Ten) earned its fifth ranked win of the season with a four-set victory (25-23, 22-25, 25-11, 25-20) against No. 15 Penn State (19-9, 12-6 Big Ten) on Sunday inside Covelli in front of a sell-out crowd for the final Buckeyes home match of the regular season and on senior day.
How it Happened
Ohio State opened scoring with a kill from Gabby Gonzales and went up 3-0. Penn State rattled off the next four points to take its first lead at 4-3. Despite five ties, the Nittany Lions did not surrender the lead and used a 3-0 run to take a 12-9 lead. PSU held the 15-13 advantage at the media timeout. Ohio State took a timeout after an unsuccessful challenge, trailing 17-14. The teams traded points out of the timeout before a 4-1 Buckeye run trimmed the Nittany Lions’ lead to 20-19 and forced a PSU timeout. The Buckeyes tied the set at 20 and took the 21-20 lead on an ace from Kylie Murr. OSU scored back-to-back points to take a 24-22 lead as the Nittany Lions took another timeout. Jenaisya Moore sealed the 25-23 set win with a kill.
The Nittany Lions scored first in the second set but the Buckeyes scored the next two points. Ohio State did not surrender the lead until three-consecutive PSU points gave the visitors an 8-7 lead. The teams alternated points, including a successful Penn State challenge, until the Nittany Lions took a 13-11 lead with back-to-back points. The Buckeyes trimmed the Nittany Lions’ lead to 18-17 but back-to-back PSU points forced an Ohio State timeout. OSU tied the set at 20 with three unanswered points out of the timeout, including two blocks. PSU scored the next three points to force a Buckeye timeout. Ohio State scored twice on Penn State’s set point to cut the lead to 24-22 and force a PSU timeout. The Nittany Lions scored out of the timeout to even the match with a 25-22 set win.
The Buckeyes scored the first four points of the third set. Two separate 4-0 Buckeye runs gave Ohio State the early 8-2 lead as Penn State called timeout. The Buckeyes extended their run to 8-0 to take a 12-2 lead. The Nittany Lions scored a few points, but OSU pushed its margin back up to 10 points at 17-7 to force another PSU timeout. The Buckeyes earned the 25-11 set win and the 2-1 advantage in the match on a kill from Londot.
Penn State scored first in the fourth set but Ohio State immediately responded. The set remained tight as neither team scored more than two points in a row until the Nittany Lions scored three-straight points to take a 14-11 lead. After trailing 15-12 at the media timeout, the Buckeyes went on a 7-2 run to take a 19-17 lead and force a PSU timeout. Ohio State forced another Nittany Lions timeout after pushing the lead to 22-18. The Buckeyes closed out a 25-20 set win with a kill from Rylee Rader and a Penn State attack error.
S1: Set point (Jenaisya Moore kill)
S3: Ohio State rally
S3: Rylee Rader kill
S3: Set point (Emily Londot kill)
S4: Match point (Penn State attack error)
What They Said
Senior defensive specialist Hannah Gruensfelder on winning on senior day:
“I was thinking about it before the game. There were a lot of emotions and nerves going into this one, just because it was senior day, Penn State is a really good team and I was playing against one of my childhood best friends who I played with since I was 11. There was a lot going into it and we knew we had to show up. I think what pushed us to beat them and get to that point was relying on each other and playing relentless defense. I felt like everyone was completely and every point giving all that they have and that’s what pushed us to win.”
Senior defensive specialist Hannah Gruensfelder on the team’s growth since her freshman season:
“Winning helps with getting a couple more fans but the engagement from all of us players and reaching out to people and connecting with those people is something that’s really huge. I know St. John’s Arena is a little bit bigger so it’s hard to feel as connected but Covelli gives you an atmosphere to where you feel like you’re right there with the fans. I think [the fans] really enjoy it and I think everyone on our team really enjoys it. Going forward, the girls are going to get some really great games in Covelli. All of the lights, the show, the media, everything the staff does for us is great and it really helps.”
Senior defensive specialist Hannah Gruensfelder on overcoming today’s adversity:
“One thing that definitely helped us when we were down was serving aggressively. I think that winning that serve-and-pass game, especially when we’re down, was huge because when we’re passing well, it gives every one of our hitters the chance to score. When we’re keeping them from passing well, it helps us direct who we know is going to get the ball and then our blockers surround it, our defense knows who’s going to. Coming out as the aggressors and really pushing them to make the mistakes and playing clean ourselves was something that was huge.”
Ohio State wraps up the regular season with a pair of road matches next week. The Buckeyes face Rutgers on Wednesday at 7 p.m. before Friday’s regular season finale at Maryland at 7 p.m. Both matches will be broadcast on B1G+ (subscription required).
The NCAA Final Four will be held in Columbus at Nationwide Arena on Dec. 16 and 18. Visit HERE for more information.