The Ohio State women’s volleyball team took their first loss of the season to No. 10 Brigham Young University on Saturday. Both teams came into the match undefeated at 5-0, but when the dust cleared, it was the BYU Cougars who left Columbus unscathed after a point-for-point, five-set battle.
BYU proved to be the Buckeyes’ toughest match during the Sports Imports D.C. Koehl Classic. The Buckeyes had no trouble sweeping LIU Brooklyn and Wyoming in quick, three-set matches on Friday at Nationwide Arena.
Junior outside hitter Luisa Schirmer and sophomore setter Taylor Hughes were named to the D.C. Koehl Classic all-tournament team. Schirmer racked up 30 kills on the weekend, while Hughes contributed a staggering 110 assists.
Senior libero Valeria León rose to third place (1,342) as she continues to climb the ladder for most career digs in OSU history.
After the loss to the Cougars, the Buckeye “tribe” carries a 5-1 record going into next weekend’s play.
OSU put away the Blackbirds in three-set fashion (25-11, 25-17, 25-19). The Buckeyes hit for an impressive .462 attacking efficiency and held LIU Brooklyn to just .112 on the match.
Freshman outside hitter Brooke Bailey drove down six kills on nine attempts, while teammate junior outside hitter Ashley Wenz was the team leader with a .769 hitting rate.
The loss put the Blackbirds at 0-4 on the year.
Revenge was on the table when OSU took on Wyoming, the team who handed the Buckeyes a loss on their first match of the season last year. It was the Buckeyes though, who came out on top on Friday, knocking off the Cowgirls in three sets.
OSU had trailed for much of the first set against Wyoming, but the swinging power of senior middle hitter Taylor Sandbothe and company brought the Buckeyes out of the hole, eventually winning the set 25-22.
The pattern continued for the second set, with the Cowgirls once again taking an early 0-4 lead. A Buckeye timeout was called, and senior middle blocker Kylie Randall gave the team their first point with a kill. After some point-for-point play, OSU regained the driver’s seat and cruised to a 25-17 second-set victory.
OSU led the way almost the entire time in the third set, only tying at an early 1-1. The team ended the third and final set 25-17 on a kill by Schirmer.
Sophomore outside hitter Audra Appold posted 12 kills on the match, six of which came in the third set. Sandbothe led both teams in kills and blocks with 14 and six, respectively.
Sandbothe admits the team was off their mojo in the beginning, but she is glad they were able to stitch up the loose ends.
“We started off a little slow, but I think we trusted in our coaching staff, we trusted in the game plan and bringing it in the middle, refocusing our team and making sure we were going nose to the pavement,” she said.
Head coach Geoff Carlston was also satisfied that his team could come through and redeem their loss from last season.
“Wyoming’s a really good team. We lost to them last year … I’ve been nervous for this match, and I was really happy with how they played tonight,” he said.
The final match of the tournament featured No. 11 OSU taking on No. 10 BYU in a tooth-and-nail battle to stay undefeated.
OSU jumped out to an early 3-0 lead in the first set but had to battle a Cougars squad who didn’t back down. The first set was a back-and-forth affair, but ultimately OSU took home the first set.
OSU also maintained the lead for the majority of the second set, until a kill from the Cougars’ McKenna Miller tied the score 24-24. However, two quick kills from Sandbothe put the Buckeyes ahead 2-0 heading into the third set.
Despite the two strong sets from OSU, BYU’s attack was in full force in set No. 3, as the Buckeyes began to unravel from early mistakes finding themselves down 9-0. The woes continued, and at one occasion, the Buckeyes faced a 21-3 deficit, the largest they had seen all season. Three kills from OSU’s Wenz and errors on BYU’s side of the net helped the Buckeyes collect 11 points before the set’s end. OSU went on to lose the third, 14-25.
Fate was not kind to the Buckeyes again in the fourth set. They trailed the Cougars nearly the entire duration of the set. BYU won the set 25-20, forcing a fifth and final set.
The Cougars took an early lead in the fifth that wasn’t relinquished in the 15-point, sudden-death set. Despite the Buckeyes’ efforts, they dropped the fifth and final set 15-9, marking their first loss of the season.
BYU out-swung the Buckeyes 70 kills to 52 and held OSU to only a .126 attacking efficiency.
OSU will see the floor again on Friday when they take on Indiana University – Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI), Missouri State and Green Bay during the Dr. Mary Jo Wynn Invitational in Springfield, Missouri.
**Colin Gay contributed to this article