December 3, 2021

Ohio State Earns First NCAA Tournament Victory in Covelli


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COLUMBUS, Ohio – The No. 9 Ohio State women’s volleyball team (26-5, 15-5 Big Ten) earned the sweep (25-12, 25-7, 25-10) against Howard (18-13, 12-2 MEAC) in the first round of the NCAA Tournament on Friday evening, the program’s first-ever post-season win inside the Covelli Center.

The Buckeyes enjoyed their best serving performance of the season with 12 service aces, surpassing its previous season-high of seven. The Ohio State defense forced its opponent to hit in the red for the second time this season as the Bison hit -.012 on the match, while the OSU offense committed a season-low six attack errors.

How it Happened

Ohio State opened scoring for the match on a Howard error and took the early advantage, but the match was tied at six and seven. The Buckeyes scored four-unanswered points and put together a 7-1 run to take a 13-8 lead and had the 15-9 advantage at the media timeout. Howard called timeout as OSU led 19-10 after a 6-1 run. The Buckeyes closed a 25-12 set win with four-straight points and sealed it on a block by Arica Davis and Mac Podraza.

Howard scored first in the second set, but Ohio State immediately responded. The Buckeyes forced a Bison timeout at 6-2 with four-straight points and used a 7-1 run to take a 13-4 lead. OSU was up 16-5 as Howard called its second timeout of the set. The Buckeyes earned the 25-7 set victory with a 6-0 run on a Howard attack error.

The Bison scored first again in the third set before the Buckeyes rattled off the next three points and went on a 9-1 run to take a 9-2 lead. The Bison took a timeout as the Buckeyes led by a 10-point margin, 13-3. The teams traded points midway through the set, but OSU maintained a double-digit lead at 20-8. Ohio State earned the sweep with a 25-10 set win on a kill from Rylee Rader.


S1: Set point (Arica Davis/Rylee Rader block)

S2: Set point (Howard error)

S3: Match point (Rylee Rader kill)

Match Notes

  • Ohio State had a season-high 12 service aces. The previous season-high was seven on two occasions.
  • The Buckeye defense forced the Bison to hit in the red (-.012) on the match, while the OSU offense recorded less than 10 total attack errors for the fourth time this season.
  • Mac Podraza tied her career-high six blocks and moved into 10th in program history with 2,628 career assists.
  • Kylie Murr recorded more than 10 digs for the 28th time this season and the 12th-consecutive match. She moved up to sixth in single-season digs as she now has 488 this season.
  • Arica Davis moved up to tie for fourth in single-season block assists (124) and ranks 10th in total blocks (134).
  • Set one: Howard did not score more than two points in a row and hit -.029 on the set.
  • Set two: Ohio State had four separate runs of at least four-unanswered points in the set while the Bison did not score more than one point in a row.
  • Set two: The Buckeyes hit .571 compared to the Bison’s -.038.

What They Said

Head Coach Jen Flynn Oldenburg on it being the first program post-season win in Covelli:

“That’s pretty cool. Those are things I don’t really think about, but it’s important for our program. It sets the tone for what we want to do and what we want to accomplish, not only this year, but future years. It’s exciting. It’s a good start.”

Junior setter Mac Podraza on what went well in the first-round tournament win:

“I think our hitters took really big swings. I think we stuck to our game plan. We always talk about how it’s the tournament and it can be anybody’s game so don’t underestimate our opponent and I think we did a good job of that and ultimately helped us come out on top.”

Junior outside hitter Jenaisya Moore on controlling the serve and pass game:  

“I think the first touch is always important. We try to slow things down for ourselves, but once we have that rhythm, we keep our foot on the gas and no looking back. We focused a lot on serve and pass and it’s really important for our game plan.”

Up Next

The Buckeyes advance to the second round of the NCAA Tournament and will face Tennessee on Saturday evening at 6 p.m. inside the Covelli Center.

The NCAA Final Four will be held in Columbus at Nationwide Arena on Dec. 16 and 18. Visit HERE for more information.