Against the Scarlet Knights (7-20, 0-14), the Buckeyes (18-8, 9-5) carried the momentum from the beginning of the match, as Rutgers tallied a .013 attacking percentage for the match and lost in straight sets (25-9, 25-18, 25-13).
The Buckeyes’ largest lead against the Scarlet Knights came in the first set, where they started the match on a 21-6 run.
While junior outside hitter Elizabeth Campbell led all players in kills with 11, senior outside hitter Erin Sekinger and sophomore middle blocker Taylor Sandbothe had 10 and nine kills, respectively. They all outscored the Scarlet Knights’ kills leaders junior outside hitter Alex Lassa and sophomore middle blocker Lauren Cloyd, who each had six.
Sophomore libero Valeria León had a career-high five service aces, marking a career-high in points, as well.
Coach Geoff Carlston said after the win that he doesn’t expect sophomore outside hitter Kylie Randall to return this season, because she has an injured ankle.
Scarlet Knights senior setter Nicole Bayer, a native of Concord, Ohio, led her team in assists with 14 and added six digs.
Even though Rutgers is the only team in the Big Ten without a conference win, Sekinger said the team always makes adjustments regardless of its opponent.
“We just had to really focus on handling our own business because we don’t like to take teams lightly in the Big Ten because they’re in the Big Ten for a reason,” Sekinger said. “So we just had to focus on doing the little things.”
Against the Terrapins (9-16, 2-12), the Buckeyes withstood a run by Maryland after the second set to win the match in four frames (25-16, 20-25, 25-19, 25-12).
Freshman outside hitter Luisa Schirmer and Sekinger each tallied 13 kills, while Campbell added 10. Junior middle blocker Tyler Richardson had eight kills on 12 total attacks for a .583 attacking percentage.
After the match, Richardson said the team meshed well on Friday night.
“This week (in practice) we really focused on defense and being able to work our middles into the offense,” Richardson said. “Our setter did a great job and we played great as a team. Our defense and offense tonight was really good.”
Sophomore setter Whitney Craigo, a native of Avon Lake, Ohio, led the Terrapins in assists with 22 while providing two service aces and two digs. Junior outside hitter Emily Fraik, a native of Wyoming, Ohio, had seven digs, three service aces and three kills.
The Buckeyes are currently tied with No. 12 Purdue (19-7, 9-5) in the Big Ten standings, with four teams ahead of them.
The Buckeyes are set to travel to No. 9 Illinois (19-6, 11-3) and Michigan (11-13, 6-8) this week. The Illinois game is scheduled for Wednesday at 8 p.m., while the matchup with the Wolverines is scheduled for Saturday at 5 p.m.