The Ohio State women’s volleyball team lost Friday night to Illinois (15-4, 6-2 Big Ten) in a 3-0 sweep, but bounced back Saturday by beating Northwestern (12-8, 2-6 Big Ten) in three straight sets.
The Buckeyes moved to 11-8 overall and 4-4 in the Big Ten.
Although the Buckeyes had a slow start to the weekend, senior outside hitter Ashley Wenz helped her team with 15 kills, 13 digs and two blocks on the night. Senior outside hitter Luisa Schirmer contributed 10 kills and freshman defensive specialist Hannah Gruensfelder was responsible for 15 digs.
Freshman middle blocker Lauren Witte was the surprise of the evening. She delivered seven kills on 11 swings with a .455 hitting percentage, with only two errors. She also played a strong defense with three blocks.
Ohio State began the opening set with a 12-10 lead against the Illini. After an 18-all tie, the Buckeyes took four straight to move into a 22-18 lead before Illinois recorded seven of the next eight points to take the set, 25-23.
The dramatic conclusion to the first set carried over to the next as Ohio State trailed the entire way through and lost 25-19.
Although they fell behind early on in the third, Schirmer notched two kills and an ace to tie the set at 18. Unfortunately for Ohio State, Illinois converted seven of the final nine points to complete the sweep, 25-20..
Ohio State was able to come back on Saturday night against Northwestern with a 3-0 win, outscoring the Wildcats by 29 points and restricting them to a .074 attacking percentage.
The Buckeyes played a convincing match with nine blocks and a .308 hitting percentage. Once again, Wenz drove the team to victory with 11 kills and three blocks of her own. Junior setter Taylor Hughes led the team with five blocks, three aces, and recorded 29 assists.
Ohio State began the game on a high note with a 12-4 lead in the first set. Northwestern bounced back with a 9-3 run, but the Buckeyes scored 10 consecutive points and won the set 25-13.
The second was a bit of a toss-up between both teams, but the Buckeyes pulled away late with a 5-1 run, securing the 25-18 win with an ace from Schirmer
Ohio State maintained its steady pace in the third set and and got some help at the net from Hughes and Witte, who tallied back-to-back blocks. The Buckeyes built a 22-10 lead, but the Wildcats fought back with four straight points. The Buckeyes continued to deliver both offensively and defensively, taking the set 25-15.
Ohio State will return to St. John Arena for a match against No. 6 Minnesota at 8 p.m. Wednesday.