The Ohio State women’s volleyball team (14-14, 7-10 Big Ten) suffered a 3-1 loss to No. 5 Nebraska (23-4, 16-1 Big Ten) on Friday night.
After losing the first two sets, Ohio State rebounded in the third set and knocked out multiple kills. Nebraska’s junior outside hitter Mikaela Foecke put up a fight with 11 kills, but the Buckeyes’ 36 kills, 32 assists and 43 digs led them to a 25-22 victory.
“We played with a lot of courage,” freshman outside hitter Ayanna Swan said. “We didn’t really get discouraged after the second set considering the score, so I’m really proud of how we played.”
Nebraska got off to an 4-1 early lead in the first set. The Buckeyes eventually caught up with three blocks before calling a timeout, leading the scoreboard 12-10. Tensions rose as the teams were locked in a close set that saw 13 ties and four lead changes. The Cornhuskers finished with a final block, which won them the set 25-23.
Nebraska took advantage of sloppy play by the Buckeyes in the second set as Ohio State had 15 attack errors. Ohio State’s defense played well again as it finished with five blocks, but the Buckeyes did not deliver offensively. The Cornhuskers’ 26 kills and .277 attacking percentage earned them the set 25-12.
The fourth set was a close point-by-point set until the end. With the set tied at 22-22, it was up for grabs. Nebraska’s star player Foecke secured the set for her team with a final kill and the Cornhuskers won 25-23.
Although the Buckeyes weren’t victorious, the evening proved fruitful for senior outside hitter Luisa Schirmer, who reached 1,000 career kills. With 10 kills and 13 digs against Nebraska, Schirmer earned her eighth double-double of the season.
Wenz played similarly with 11 kills and 10 digs to add a double-double of her own. Freshman setter Becca Mauer also played a significant role with 39 assists and eight digs.
Sophomore middle blocker Madison Smeathers said the Buckeyes enjoy playing the big teams even when they don’t come out on top.
“We had a lot of … hitting errors and we weren’t always concentrated on what we needed to be,” Smeathers said.
Swan admitted the Buckeyes did not play the best serving game and needed to be faster in their blocking tactics.
“They did run a pretty fast offense,” Swan added. “It was pretty hard to keep up with them, but I think overall we held our own.”
The Buckeyes will be back in St. John Arena at 8 p.m. Saturday for their rematch with Iowa.