Despite a slow start in the first two sets, the No. 20 Buckeyes showed more aggression against the Badgers (26-2, 16-1) in the third set.
OSU got its first lead of the entire match in the third set and gained a 3-0 lead to start. The Buckeyes led 15-14 at one point, but an 11-7 run by the Badgers gave them the set and match win.
OSU freshman outside hitter Erin Chatman said that the team needs to bring the aggressive play from the third set to its match against Minnesota on Wednesday.
“I believe we need to bring the same energy that we had in the third set and keep working hard during practice,” Chatman said.
Junior outside hitter Elizabeth Campbell was the lone Buckeye to score double-digit kills against the Badgers with 10. Sophomore middle blocker Taylor Sandbothe had nine kills, while senior outside hitter Erin Sekinger had eight kills.
The Badgers had two players with double-digit kills in freshman outside hitter Kelli Bates, who had 13 kills on 24 attacks, and senior outside hitter Courtney Thomas, who had 10 kills on 19 attacks.
Senior outside hitter/defensive specialist Deme Morales, a native of Amherst, Ohio, tallied eight digs for the Badgers.
With the loss, the Buckeyes are now 19-11 overall and 10-8 in the Big Ten, and while that may not be the best record in the conference, OSU has a shot of still making the NCAA Tournament.
OSU is one of six Big Ten teams to be ranked in the American Volleyball Coaches Association top-25 poll.
Sophomore libero Valeria León said that the team needs to go out Wednesday and get a win for the seniors, especially with hopes of making the NCAA Tournament.
“Right now we just need to play for them,” León said. “I feel like it’s gonna be a really exciting night for us and especially for them.”
For the Badgers, they won their 17th-consecutive conference match, which is a school-record.
The Buckeyes’ match on Wednesday is its last home contest of the regular season, as they’re set to take on the Golden Gophers (18-11, 8-10). The Buckeyes lost to the then-No. 17 Golden Gophers earlier this season in five sets. Wednesday’s contest is scheduled to start at 7 p.m.