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Women’s volleyball splits weekend series against Wisconsin

The Ohio State women’s volleyball team beat Wisconsin in dramatic fashion Sunday at St. John Arena, winning 3-2 (20-25, 25-22, 26-28, 25-22, 19-16) and surviving a thrilling fifth set in which each team served for game-point.

“You want to win in three [sets], but it’s games like this that our leaders get to step up and people get to show what they’ve got,” sophomore outside hitter Emily Danks said.

Wisconsin jumped to a 2-1 set lead, but the Buckeyes rallied back to take the next two.

“Whoever had more heart was going to win it,” sophomore setter Amanda Peterson said. “It was a battle all the way.”

Sunday’s match was a rematch of the game that OSU and Wisconsin played earlier this season in Madison, Wisc., when OSU won in five sets.

“We gave ourselves a little bit of stress and pressure but we came back,” senior outside hitter Anna Szerszen said. “You feel the pressure and you are like, ‘I have to get this swing.'”

OSU coach Geoff Carlston said Wisconsin has improved since their last meeting, especially with ball control.

“They’re just a good team,” Carlston said of Wisconsin. “They’re a really solid team.”

The win puts the Buckeyes’ record at 20-9 this season and 8-8 in Big Ten play.

Senior outside hitter Katie Dull led the Buckeyes with a game-high 29.5 points, including 24 kills.

Senior setter Betsy Hone led the Buckeyes with 53 assists, and junior libero Sarah Mignin led the team with 23 digs.

The weekend was not all good for the Buckeyes, however, as they lost to ninth-ranked Illinois on Friday, 3-1 (25-20, 25-17, 17-25, 27-25) at St. John Arena.

“Friday’s loss was tough,” Peterson said. “We were right there with them, we knew we could beat them.”

The Buckeyes had to regroup and make the right adjustments coming into Sunday.

Szerszen said the team worked on blocking and making sure the front and back rows were on the same page.

“We didn’t do a good job of stopping Illinois on Friday,” Szerszen said.

Junior outside hitter Kelli Barhorst led the Buckeyes with 16 points in the loss. Hone led the Buckeyes in assists with 44, and Mignin had the team high in digs, with 16.

The Buckeyes travel to Penn State on Wednesday, and with four games left in the regular season, need some big wins down the stretch to move up in the Big Ten standings.

“Every game in the Big Ten is a huge match,” Szerszen said, “because in any given night, any team can win.”

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