With the Nittany Lions’ (22-3, 10-2) sweep, the Buckeyes (16-8, 7-5) suffered their first home defeat of the season after winning their first seven games at St. John Arena. It was also the first back-to-back sweep against the Buckeyes this season.
The Buckeyes had trouble with attacking, shots blocked and total errors for the second straight game against Penn State.
Freshman outside hitter Luisa Schirmer said the team spoke after the game about the errors and problems they had against the Nittany Lions.
“We talked about what they did well, we’re going to take those things, work on them and it helps us because we now know what we have to work on,” Schirmer said. “Playing teams like Penn State only makes us better for the long run, especially when we get to the NCAA tournament.”
The only player to tally double-digit kills for the match was Nittany Lion freshman outside hitter Ali Frantti, who had 14. Senior setter Micha Hancock led all players in assists with 32, while Buckeye senior setter Taylor Sherwin had 27. Nittany Lion senior libero Dominique Gonzalez led all players in digs with 15, while Buckeye sophomore libero Valeria León had 10.
In the first set, the Buckeyes posted an overall hitting percentage of -.11.
It was the team’s lowest single-set attacking percentage so far this season.
With the back-to-back losses, the Buckeyes have lost 14 of their past 16 matches against Penn State and coach Geoff Carlston is 0-14 against the Nittany Lions.
After the game, Carlston complimented the Nittany Lions by saying they stand out against all the teams the Buckeyes have played this season.
“Penn State is playing at a higher level than anyone in the conference right now,” Carlston said. “I don’t see them losing the rest of the way. In our two matches they played really, really well.”
He added that while the Buckeyes are sixth in the Big Ten standings, the team cannot let the losses to Penn State affect its play for the rest of season.
“The reality is, it’s two matches, it doesn’t take away from what we’ve done or where we are,” he said. “But we needed to keep climbing. We need to get better … I thought (the matches would be closer). Honestly Penn State played at a very high level, and we didn’t play our best volleyball.”
Freshman defensive specialist Luna Tsujimoto said there were some positives to the two matches against the Nittany Lions that can be carried over into the team’s upcoming games.
“Our serving got much better. I think we’re much more aggressive on serving,” Tsujimoto said. “I think our hitting is a lot more aggressive, too.”
The Buckeyes are scheduled to play back-to-back matches at St. John Arena against Maryland (9-14, 2-10) on Friday and Rutgers (7-18, 0-12) on Saturday for the first time since those teams joined the Big Ten.
The Buckeyes have a 6-1 overall record against the Terrapins, with the last game played in 2012 in a OSU win. The Scarlet Knights and Buckeyes haven’t played one another since 1981, though the Buckeyes lead the three game series, 2-1.
Both matches are scheduled for a 7 p.m. start.
Correction: An earlier version of this articles quoted Geoff Carlston as saying “Obviously Penn State played at a very high level,” when in fact, he said “Honestly Penn State played at a very high level.”