October 9, 2019

Ohio State Making Stops at Rutgers, No. 8 Penn State


COLUMBUS, Ohio – Conference play continues for the Ohio State women’s volleyball team with a pair of matches on the road this weekend. The Buckeyes are visiting Rutgers at 7 p.m. Friday before heading to No. 8 Penn State for a Saturday night showdown on the Big Ten Network at 8 p.m.

MatchesDateTimeTVLive StatsLive Stream ($)
Ohio State at RutgersFriday, Oct. 117 p.m.Stats
Ohio State at No. 8 Penn StateSaturday, Oct. 128 p.m.Big Ten NetworkStatsBTN+


Ohio State has a commanding 10-1 lead in the all-time series with Rutgers. The Buckeyes have won the last eight meetings, including last year’s five-set thriller. Ohio State erased a 2-1 deficit to beat the Scarlet Knights, led by Lauren Witte and Adria Powell with 17 kills apiece.

Penn State has a 49-16 advantage in its series against Ohio State, dating back to 1981. The teams split last season’s home-and-home series. The Buckeyes upset the No. 4 Nittany Lions in four sets for their first win over the squad since 2016. Mia Grunze had the first double-double of her career behind 12 kills and 13 digs. PSU earned a sweep in the rematch two weeks later. Bia Franklin had a career night with 11 kills and 13 points.


Rutgers (6-9, 0-4 B1G) is looking for its first Big Ten win of the season. The Scarlet Knights are on a six-match skid, having claimed just two sets during that time. Last week, Rutgers fell to No. 2 Nebraska in straight sets and dropped a 3-1 decision to No. 7 Minnesota. As a team, the Scarlet Knights rank third in the conference and 21st nationally with 2.64 blocks per set.

Penn State (10-3, 3-1 B1G) suffered its first league loss in a 3-1 setback to No. 13 Wisconsin last week but bounced back by sweeping Iowa. The Nittany Lions have a .282 hitting percentage to check in at No. 10 nationally. Kaitlyn Hord leads the Big Ten and is fifth in the country with a .467 attacking clip while Serena Gray is behind her in 10th (.433). Gabby Blossom is averaging 10.93 assists per set to sit 22nd nationally.


The Buckeyes (8-8, 1-3 B1G) are looking to get back in the win column after losing the last three matches. Ohio State came up short to Michigan State and Michigan last weekend in straight sets. Madison Smeathers had a season-high 12 kills and Becca Mauer dished out a season-best 34 assists with five digs and two rejections against the Spartans. Elle Sandbothe tallied 12 kills versus the Wolverines.


As a team, Ohio State averages 13.79 kills per set to sit at No. 24 in the national rankings, paced by Mia Grunze at 3.24 kills per set. Kylie Murr leads the Big Ten and is 15th in the country behind 5.30 digs per set. Mac Podraza (7.51) and Becca Mauer (7.40) have split the settings duties as of late. At the net, seven Buckeyes have double-digit blocks – Lauren Witte (44), Elle Sandbothe (41), Podraza (28), Jordan Fry (21), Grunze (18), Adria Powell (13) and Gabby Gonzales (11).


Sunday’s match against Michigan was the first sellout crowd in Ohio State’s 48-year history. The arena hit capacity as 3,994 fans packed the Covelli Center for the first sellout in the new facility.


The Buckeyes return to Columbus to host Iowa in a midweek matchup on Wednesday, Oct. 16 at 8 p.m. on the Big Ten Network.