COLUMBUS, Ohio – The No. 9 Ohio State women’s volleyball team (27-5, 15-5 Big Ten) used a four-set win (25-18, 14-25, 25-21, 25-21) against Tennessee (20-10, 11-7 SEC) on Saturday to advance to the program’s 18th NCAA Regional.
Gabby Gonzales (15), Emily Londot (13) and Rylee Rader (10) all reached double-figure kills while the Buckeye front line reached 10 blocks as a team for the ninth time this season. Kylie Murr is now tied for fourth in program history with 1,394 digs. Arica Davis recorded eight blocks, moving into second in single-season program history with 132 block assists and sixth in total blocks (142).
How it Happened
Arica Davis and Emily Londot began the match with a block as Ohio State scored the first five points to force a Tennessee timeout. The Lady Vols tallied the next three points before a Londot kill broke the scoring run. A service ace from Kylie Murr forced a second Tennessee timeout as OSU held the 16-10 advantage. Ohio State secured the 25-18 set win on a Tennessee service error.
Ohio State scored the first point of the second set, but Tennessee took its first lead of the match at 2-1. The Lady Vols used a 3-0 run to take a 9-6 lead and force an OSU timeout. Tennessee extended its lead to 12-6 with three more points and stretched the lead to 18-11. The Lady Vols evened the match with a 25-14 set win, scoring the last four points.
The Buckeyes opened the third set with a block from Gabby Gonzales and Davis and used a 3-0 run to take an early 6-4 lead but the Lady Vols responded to tie the set at seven. Ohio State put together a 4-1 run to take an 11-8 lead and force a Tennessee timeout. The teams traded points with the Buckeyes maintaining at least a two-point lead until back-to-back Lady Vols points trimmed the OSU lead to 21-20 to force a timeout. Ohio State responded with the next two points as it was Tennessee’s turn to call timeout. A kill from Mac Podraza sealed the 25-21 set win.
Ohio State scored first in the fourth set on a Gonzales kill and took a 4-1 lead. The set remained close as OSU held the lead until Tennessee tied the set at 11 with three-unanswered points. The Buckeyes scored the next two points to regain the 15-13 advantage at the media timeout. The Lady Vols tied the set at 16 and 17 but back-to-back Buckeye points forced a Tennessee timeout. Tennessee tied the set at 19 but Ohio State responded to take a 21-19 lead and the Lady Vols took another timeout. Tennessee got within one, 21-20, out of the timeout, but a block from Londot and Rylee Rader began a 4-1 OSU run to wrap up the match with a Podraza kill and a 25-21 set win.
What They Said
Head Coach Jen Flynn Oldenburg on advancing after winning two post-season matches in Covelli:
“It’s a pretty big checkmark for our program. It’s something that we’ve talked about – trying to do more than we did last year. The nerves played a part in tonight’s match, you saw that. But for us to come out with a victory, and not playing our best, the stat-line says we should’ve lost based on all these stats and to come out with a win was huge. I think it’s great for our team to fight through those nerves and to fight hard together and advance.”
Junior libero Kylie Murr on how she encouraged the team:
“We have to be the aggressors and when we’re the aggressors, we can make a lot of noise and have a lot of energy. I can’t necessarily be an aggressor so I feed them with a lot of confidence and hype them up as much as I can and let them know that they’re really super good and they’re the best in the country.”
Sophomore middle blocker on bouncing back after dropping the second set:
“Once we lost that second set, we woke up and said, ‘it’s time to go’ and we can’t lose in Covelli in front of our home crowd. We knew that we needed to bring that fire and I think we did that.”
The Buckeyes travel to Louisville, Ky. to face eighth-seeded Georgia Tech on Thursday in the NCAA Regional Semifinal.
The NCAA Final Four will be held in Columbus at Nationwide Arena on Dec. 16 and 18. Visit HERE for more information.