COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Ohio State women’s volleyball team (10-0) beat Notre Dame (3-7) in five sets (25-17, 20-25, 25-20, 23-25, 15-9) on Sunday afternoon inside the Covelli Center. The Buckeyes welcomed 3,070 fans into Covelli for the first women’s volleyball home match with fans in more than 600 days.
How it Happened
Notre Dame took an early lead in the match before Ohio State tied the set at six and seven before taking its first lead of the afternoon. The Buckeyes scored four-consecutive points to lead 11-7 and force an Irish timeout. OSU went on a 6-3 run to jump to a 17-10 lead and force another ND timeout after a pair of Irish errors. The teams traded points before the Buckeyes scored three of the final four points to take the first set by a 25-17 margin on a kill from Emily Londot.
The second set saw an early Irish lead before being tied at six and seven once again. The teams were tied 10 times before hitting 17 points before ND scored on back-to-back kills to force an OSU timeout as the Buckeyes trailed 20-17. The Irish scored three of the next four points on the floor as the Buckeyes took their second timeout of the set trailing 23-18. Notre Dame took the second set, 25-20, to tie the match at one.
Ohio State scored the first three points of the third set and built a 9-5 lead as Notre Dame took a timeout following a kill from Mia Grunze. The Buckeyes led by as many as five, 12-7, before the Irish closed the gap to one point. OSU responded with three-straight points of its own and retained at least a two-point lead for the remainder of the set. Gabby Gonzales sealed the 25-20 set win with a kill.
The Buckeyes scored first in the fourth set but the Irish would tie the match at six before taking their first lead of the set. OSU got within one, 9-8, before an 8-1 ND run forced a Buckeyes timeout as they trailed 17-9. Ohio State responded with a 7-4 run of its own to force a Notre Dame timeout as the Irish’s lead was cut to 21-16. The Buckeyes won a challenge to get within one, 23-22, but the Irish would win the set 25-23.
After being tied at three, a kill from Rylee Rader gave Ohio State a lead it would not relinquish. A block from Mac Podraza and Rader and a kill from Grunze increased the Buckeyes’ advantage to 6-3. The Irish took a timeout as OSU led 10-5 and then again at 12-6. The Buckeyes sealed the match win on a kill from Rader, 15-9.
What They Said
Head Coach Jen Flynn Oldenburg: “I think this is one of those matches you look forward to – first time back in Covelli and with fans. For our staff it’s the first time seeing the venue filled up. To see fans start to stream in and know how many tickets we sold even before today, it’s always exciting to have that support from the community and from our students. For our team, it was awesome. For me, it was the first experience I’ve had here with fans. I got a little emotional before the match, a little excited and ready. We look forward to having them back for future matches.”
Senior outside hitter Mia Grunze: “Notre Dame came out fighting. They put up a fight the whole match, so credit to them. They tested us today but we showed that we can come together and come out with a win.”
“Notre Dame tested us and I think that’s really important going into Big Ten play. Everyone in the Big Ten is good. We are definitely going to get tested. It was good for us to learn from it and push forward and get better this week going into the first weekend [of conference play].”
Sophomore middle blocker Rylee Rader: “I like how you said ups and downs – I think we had a lot today. Starting off with warmups, we had a great warmup and the environment was insane. You could tell the ups and downs today but that was a great win for us starting out with Big Ten play next weekend.”
“Once we got that kill at the end [of the match], I think that nerves just calmed. It was good to get that final kill so we can go in and show people what we’re made of.”
Ohio State opens conference play with two road matches next weekend. The Buckeyes travel to No. 9 Purdue on Friday for a 7 p.m. match. On Sunday, OSU faces No. 20 Penn State at 4 p.m.