“We’re starting to believe in ourselves,” senior outside hitter Erin Sekinger said. “We are stepping on the court believing we can take any team and hang with any team.”
Against the Wolverines (10-10, 5-5) on Saturday, the Buckeyes (16-6, 7-3) completed a clean sweep (25-21, 25-21, 25-19), a first against a Big Ten opponent at home this season.
The Buckeyes were led in kills by Sekinger and freshman outside hitter Luisa Schirmer who each had 12. Senior setter Taylor Sherwin led all players with 37 assists and added nine digs. Sophomore libero Valeria León led the team in digs with 11.
Wolverine freshman defensive specialist Caroline Knop led all players in kills with 13 and junior defensive specialist Lindsey Lerg led all players in digs with 13. Senior setter Lexi Dannemiller, a native of West Chester, Ohio, led the Wolverines in assists with 35.
OSU junior middle blocker Andrea Kacsits got her first start of the season since she injured a finger on her right hand before the first match of the season against Oregon. She had two kills, a dig and a service ace.
With the win against the Wolverines, the Buckeyes topped their six Big Ten wins from a season ago and have their best record after 10 conference games since the 2005-06 season when the Buckeyes also started Big Ten play at 7-3 through 10 conference games.
Against the Spartans (12-9, 5-5) on Friday, the Buckeyes were challenged as they played in their eighth five-set match of the season, but prevailed to stay undefeated at home (25-20, 14-25, 25-20, 14-25, 15-6).
Junior Elizabeth Campbell led all players in kills with 16 and added 11 digs, followed by Schirmer who had 14 kills. León led all players in digs with 23 and Sherwin led all players in assists with 40.
Spartan freshman setter and Big Ten Freshman of the Week Rachel Minarick almost had a triple-double as she provided the Spartans with 34 assists, 10 digs and nine kills. Senior libero Kori Moster, a native of Cincinnati, Ohio, led her team in digs with 22.
The Buckeyes’ win against Michigan State is their first since Oct. 20, 2012, when they defeated the Spartans, 3-1, in East Lansing, Mich.
Coach Geoff Carlston said he was glad he saw the number of error’s go down against the Wolverines, as the Buckeyes had 33 attacking error’s against the Spartans, causing them to have a .077 attacking percentage for the game.
“We took the win (against Michigan State) and we ran,” Carlston said. “They’re very different teams and very different situations…we played a lot better. We played a lot cleaner (against Michigan) than we did last night.”
The Buckeyes’ next opponent is No. 7 Penn State (20-3, 8-2), whom they’re scheduled to play twice this week.
The Buckeyes are scheduled to play the Nittany Lions in State College, Pa., on Tuesday at 7 p.m., before returning to St. John Arena on Friday for another 7 p.m. match start.