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Inconsistent Buckeyes go 1-1 in weekend play

The Ohio State women’s volleyball team jumped out to a one-set lead (26-24) against No. 19 Michigan, but dropped the next three sets (17-25, 16-25, 19-25) en route to a 3-1 loss Friday night.

The Buckeyes seemed energized during the highly contested first set, which saw 16 ties and eight lead changes, winning on a game-point kill by outside hitter Anna Szerszen.

The momentum did not hold for the Buckeyes, however, as Michigan jumped out to an early 7-1 lead to start the second set. OSU never recovered from the early deficit and headed into the break with the match tied at one set a piece.

After the break, Michigan picked up right where it left off, jumping out to a 9-2 lead to start the third set.

OSU cut the lead to 9-6 but could never climb back in the set.

The last set was close through the first-half, featuring three ties, but Michigan began to pull away after gaining an 11-10 advantage. With Michigan’s lead 23-15, OSU began to fight back, riding outside hitter Katie Dull’s three consecutive kills, but fell short in the end.

For the Buckeyes, Dull had a team-high 18 points with 15 kills, two aces and a solo block. Betsy Hone led the Buckeyes with 30 assists and Sarah Mignin was the team-leader in digs with nine.

The Buckeyes had trouble getting into a rhythm the entire night.

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Following the game, the team spent some extended time in the locker room to work things out.

“We had a really good conversation that was much needed,” OSU coach Geoff Carlston said. “I think we are going to be better tomorrow.

“We were just disconnected and it’s my job as a coach to get everyone connected again. The dynamic needed to be tweaked and it just didn’t feel like our team today, but we’ll move forward.”

The Buckeyes recovered quickly, turning around Saturday night to sweep Michigan State at St. John Arena, three sets to none (25-20, 25-22, 25-18).

Michigan State found itself leading the first set 14-8 before the Buckeyes made five consecutive points to get them back in the game. A kill by middle blocker Mariah Booth brought up game point, and a kill from Dull sealed the first set for the Buckeyes.

Set two was close throughout, seeing seven ties and three lead changes. Michigan State led 10-8 before the Buckeyes scored nine unanswered points, making the score 17-10. OSU increased its lead to 21-13, but the Spartans fought back with six unanswered points of their own, making the score 21-19. A 4-3 run to close the set gave OSU the 2-0 set lead.

OSU jumped out early in the third set and never looked back. At 23-17, a kill by middle blocker Kelli Barhorst gave OSU match point. A 24-18 Spartan error gave OSU the match.

Dull posted a match-high 18.5 points with 14 kills, two aces and a solo block. Amanda Peterson led the Buckeyes with 31 assists while Mignin was the team-leader in digs with 8. With the win, Ohio State improves to 14-3 on the year and 2-2 in conference play.

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