By defeating No. 24 Northwestern, the Ohio State women’s volleyball team made history as the program won three consecutive matches against ranked opponents for the first time ever.
The Buckeyes (13-5, 4-2) and Wildcats (13-4, 3-3) were incosistant at times in the four sets, losing by scores of 25-21, 26-24, 17-25 and 25-17. Inconsistency was something OSU coach Geoff Carlston said he saw throughout the match, even though his team came out on top.
“I thought tonight was an interesting matchup,” Carlston said. “I don’t think either team played particularly well. Those are the important matches that you got to win, especially those at home. This is a match we needed.”
The Buckeyes were led by senior setter Taylor Sherwin’s double-double as she led all players with 46 assists and added 10 digs. Sophomore libero Valeria León led all players with 19 digs and sophomore middle blocker Taylor Sandbothe added 16 kills.
ESPNW’s National Player of the Week and OSU junior outside hitter Elizabeth Campbell had eight digs, six kills and an assist. Northwestern freshman outside hitter Symone Abbott, the Big Ten co-Freshman of the Week, led her team in kills with 14 and added a dig.
The Wildcats came into the game having won eight of their previous 10, with a win against then-No. 18 Minnesota and losses at No. 5 Penn State and against No. 6 Wisconsin.
Carlston said the X factor for the Buckeyes during the game was freshman outside hitter Luisa Schirmer, who provided the team with seven digs, five kills and a service ace.
“I don’t think we win without her because she just added a spark, an energy (and) kills,” Carlston said.
There’s a chance the Buckeyes could be a top-25 ranked team at the start of next week as the team came into the week unranked but received votes in the American Volleyball Coaches Association.
Junior middle blocker Andrea Kacsits said this team is different than in years past, and in a good way.
“Whether we’re home or away, we prepare for these (ranked) games just the same, regardless of our opponent,” Kacsits said. “I think it doesn’t phase our team. In years past it might have been a different culture at home or on the road, but this team in particular, there is no change. We prepare for teams just the same.”
The Buckeyes are scheduled to be back on the road this week to face Indiana (12-6, 3-3) and No. 14 Purdue (16-2, 6-0) back-to-back. OSU is scheduled to face the Hoosiers on Friday and the Boilermakers on Saturday. Both matches are set for a 7 p.m. start.