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Bucks look to spike Penn State from nation’s top spot

The Ohio State women’s volleyball team is picking up momentum. It recorded its first Big Ten weekend home sweep in more than three years,   

After defeating both Purdue and Indiana 3-1 in last weekend’s matchups, the Buckeyes climbed from No. 36 to No. 32. 

The Buckeyes are 17-6 overall, 5-5 in Big Ten conference play and No. 5 in the conference.

The weekend’s biggest contributor, Ashley Hughes, has been named Big Ten Co-Player of the week. 

On Friday against Purdue, Hughes posted 48 assists, seven digs and five kills.  It was a tough performance to beat, but she did just that. Saturday against Indiana, Hughes achieved two career highs, with 53 assists and 19 digs. 

Hughes has been the starting setter in eight matches and has played in 12. She will be an asset in the team’s trip to No. 1 Penn State.

The Buckeyes are entering the second wave of conference play on a positive note.

Top-ranked Penn State is 22-0 and has held onto the No. 1 spot this season. The Buckeyes lost to Penn State on Oct. 7 in the first round of conference play.

This time around, the Buckeyes have improved in hitting percentages and have employed a smoother offense. 

The Buckeyes average 16.81 points per set, just behind the 19.46 points per set Penn State averages. However, the Buckeyes face bigger challenges. Buckeye opponents are hitting .180 and Penn State’s opponents just .091.   

The Buckeyes fall just short of Penn State with 13.29 kills and 12.20 assists per set on average. They take the edge over Penn State with 1.58 aces and 13.24 digs on average per set. 

It’s easy to compare two teams’ stats, but action on the floor determines the stronger team. The Buckeyes have the aggressive defense that is required to challenge a team with an undefeated record.  

The Nittany Lions of Penn State host the Buckeyes at 7 p.m. The match will be televised by the Big Ten Network. 

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