After being swept by No. 3 Penn State on Wednesday, the No. 11 Ohio State women’s volleyball dropped its 18th straight game to the Nittany Lions on Friday.
Although it won its first set against Penn State (21-2, 10-2) since 2011, OSU (19-5, 8-4) couldn’t break through with its first win against the defending national champions in nine years, falling in four sets (15-25, 16-25, 25-19, 14-25).
Despite the best efforts of freshman outside hitter Audra Appold (15 kills), senior outside hitter Elizabeth Campbell (12) and junior middle blocker Taylor Sandbothe (10), OSU’s offense was once again held in check, hitting at a lowly .172 rate.
Penn State didn’t quite hit at the ridiculous .447 mark that it did on Wednesday, but again it had a proficient night on offense with a .364 attack percentage. Redshirt senior outside hitter Aiyana Whitney and sophomore middle blocker Haleigh Washington led their team with 13 kills each.
OSU hung around at the beginning of the first set, but the Nittany Lions took over after things were tied at six, closing it on a 19-8 run. Penn State put up a .500 attack percentage in the opening frame, led by Washington’s six kills on seven attempts.
It was more of the same in the second set for the Buckeyes, but they finally came alive in the third to win their first set against Penn State in seven matches.
Powered by five of its six blocks on the night — three from Sandbothe and two from Appold — OSU held the Nittany Lions to its lowest hitting percentage of the game (.167). Sandbothe and Appold both came up big on the offensive side of the net as well, sending home five kills apiece.
The surge proved to be too little too late, however, as Penn State rediscovered its dominant form in the fourth and final frame. Once again, the third-ranked team in the country hit at a .500 clip, running away with an 11-point advantage to take home a 3-1 win.
If there was one plus for the Buckeyes on Friday night, it was that freshman setter Taylor Hughes was able to make her first start in two games after suffering an elbow injury in OSU’s loss against Michigan State last week. Hughes split time with senior Emily Ruetter but was able to notch 23 assists.
Ruetter added 17 assists for the Scarlet and Gray.
OSU will look to rebound next weekend when it takes on Maryland on Friday at 6:30 p.m. and Rutgers on Nov. 7 at 7 p.m.