The Ohio State women’s volleyball team (11-11, 4-7 Big Ten) lost its third straight game of the season to No. 13 Purdue (16-6, 6-6 Big Ten) in straight sets Friday night at St. John Arena. The Buckeyes committed 10 more combined attack and service errors than their opponent.
“We just need to clean up,” sophomore middle blocker Madison Smeathers said. “It’s all in our heads right now, we’ll get after it in practice tomorrow, and hopefully be better [next game].”
The most tightly contested set was the third and final one, in which the score stayed within one up until the game was tied at 10. After a kill from outside hitter Luisa Schirmer and an error by the Boilermakers the Buckeyes were ahead 12-10.
A seemingly endless rally ensued, with multiple spectacular digs on both sides before another Purdue error finally ended the exchange to give the Buckeyes a 13-10 lead.
However, down 15-11, Purdue battled back to take the advantage 20-19. The Boilermakers took over the set from there, finishing the Buckeyes 25-22 with kills from middle blocker Danielle Cuttino and outside hitters Azariah Stahl and Shavona Atkinson.
20-19, and following kills from middle blocker Danielle Cuttino and outside hitters Azariah Stahl and Shavona Atkinson the Boilermakers finished off the sweep 25-22.
“Too many unforced errors [at the end of the third set],” head coach Geoff Carlston said. “[Purdue] played a little bit better, but we made three or four pretty big errors in that run that we need to clean up.”
After Smeathers opened the Buckeye scoring with a blistering kill to even the first set at one, Purdue responded with two kills each from Cuttino and Atkinson to put the score at 5-1. Purdue closed the set with a 10-4 run that included four kills by freshman Caitlyn Newton to take the opening draw 25-16.
Purdue opened the second set with a 7-1 edge that included service aces from Jena Otec and Brooke Peters. The Boilermakers never looked back, running away with a 25-17 second set victory.
Schirmer finished with 12 kills on the night for Ohio State, more than double that of any other player for the Buckeyes.
Hughes finished with a total of 30 assists. With her fourth assist in the first set, Ohio State junior setter Taylor Hughes became just the eighth Ohio State player to record 3,000 assists in her career.
“She’s a leader, she’s been a leader ever since she got here,” Smeathers added. “We can’t win a game without her.”
Ohio State will look to rebound from their losing skid at home Saturday night when they take on Indiana.