The seven-game winning streak for the Ohio State women’s volleyball team came to an end on Wednesday night with a road loss to Michigan State in East Lansing.
In just its third loss of the season, No. 6 OSU (18-3, 7-2) was swept (25-20, 25-19, 26-24) by the unranked Spartans (14-6, 6-3), who earned their fourth consecutive victory.
Serving — which OSU coach Geoff Carlston said would be critical in slowing down the Michigan State offense that entered the game leading the Big Ten in kills per set — was a problem for the Buckeyes as they committed eight service errors against just three aces.
Meanwhile, the serving game of Michigan State kept OSU off balance with 10 aces, tying the highest mark of any Big Ten team this season in a three-set match. The swing of sophomore outside hitter Holly Toliver proved to be difficult to deal with, as she led her team with a four aces.
The Spartans also put up a hitting percentage of .244, the highest mark that OSU has allowed in Big Ten play. Sophomore middle blocker Alyssa Garvelink had a game-high 13 points on 10 kills, two aces and two blocks.
Both offenses came out on fire in the first set, with each attacking at a percentage of over .500, but OSU never could jump ahead before Michigan State pulled away down the stretch en route to a five-point win.
At the beginning of the second set, OSU freshman setter Taylor Hughes went down with an apparent left arm injury. She did not play in the remainder of the match but later returned to the Buckeyes’ bench with her arm in a sling.
The freshman’s absence seemed to affect the rhythm of the Scarlet and Gray, as it attacked at a paltry percentage of .098 the remainder of the contest. OSU mustered only seven kills and attacked at a .000 rate in its second-set defeat.
The Buckeyes battled in the third set and appeared poised to force a fourth frame when they went up 21-19, but Michigan State closed on a 7-3 run to pull off the upset.
For the first time this season, no Buckeye reached double-digit kills. Freshman outside hitter Audra Appold and sophomore outside hitter Ashley Wenz led OSU with six kills apiece.
Senior middle blocker Taylor Sandbothe led her team with 10.5 points on six blocks (one solo), four kills and three service aces. Wenz and senior middle blocker Tyler Richardson both got in on three blocks. The Buckeyes had 10 total blocks in the match.
OSU will look to get back in the winning column when the Buckeyes return to the court for a scheduled trip to Ann Arbor to take on No. 23 Michigan. The match is set to begin at 7 p.m.