After falling to 0-2 in Big Ten play, the Ohio State women’s volleyball team (11-5, 2-2) won back-to-back matches against No. 8 Nebraska (9-4, 3-1) and Iowa (8-7, 0-4) over the weekend.
With the return of freshman outside hitter Luisa Schirmer, the Buckeyes defeated the Cornhuskers on Saturday in front of 8,041 fans in Lincoln, Neb., in five sets (25-27, 27-25, 23-25, 25-17, 16-14).
The Cornhuskers were coming off a 3-1 victory over No. 3 Penn State Friday night.
Leading the Buckeyes in kills was junior outside hitter Elizabeth Campbell, who led all players with 23, followed by senior outside hitter Erin Sekinger and junior outside hitter Katie Mitchell who had 20 and 19, respectively. Senior setter Taylor Sherwin led all players in assists with 59. Sophomore libero Valeria León led all players in digs with 22, followed by Campbell with 20 and Sherwin with 19.
The game was the team’s first win against a ranked opponent this season. The last win against a ranked opponent came against then No. 14 Purdue in a 3-1 set win in Columbus on Nov. 9, 2013.
Against the Hawkeyes, the Buckeyes had the added benefit of junior middle blocker Andrea Kacsits, who played in her first match of the season Friday night after coming back from an injury.
The Buckeyes beat a Hawkeye team that had lost it’s prior three matches heading into the matchup in just three games (25-19, 25-17, 25-22).
Campbell led all players in both kills and digs with 12 and nine, respectively. Sherwin led all players in assists with 36. Mitchell led the Buckeyes in service aces with three. She and Sandbothe led all players in blocked shots with one each.
Jess Janota, a freshman middle blocker, and native of Concord, Ohio, had five kills for the Hawkeyes.
After Saturday’s game, Mitchell summed up what gave the Buckeyes such a successful weekend after.
“Taking perspective of simple things. One step at a time, one game at a time (and) taking care of what we needed to do,” Mitchell said.
She added the key to winning at Iowa was focusing on the current game and not looking forward into the future.
Freshman defensive specialist Kalisha Goree praised the team’s ability to work together
“When we communicate better, that’s when we get (the) win,” she said.
With their two conference wins, the Buckeyes are tied with Michigan State (9-6, 2-2) for eighth in the Big Ten.
The Buckeyes are scheduled to return to Columbus this week after being away for over a month and are set to face No. 16 Illinois (11-4, 3-1) on Wednesday at 7 p.m., followed by Northwestern (13-2, 3-1) Saturday at 6:30 p.m.
Correction: An earlier version of this article stated OSU is scheduled to play Northwestern on Friday, when in fact, they are set to play on Saturday.