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Women’s Volleyball: Ohio State splits weekend series with win against No. 8 Wisconsin and loss to No. 5 Minnesota

The Ohio State women’s volleyball team warms up prior to their match
against Purdue at St. John Arena on Friday, Oct. 27 in Columbus, Ohio. Purdue won the match 3-0. Credit: Jeff Helfrich | Lantern Reporter

The Ohio State women’s volleyball team (13-12, 6-8 Big Ten) split its weekend road trip by beating No. 8 Wisconsin in five sets after trailing 2-0, but losing to No. 5 Minnesota in three sets.

Although the Buckeyes knocked off the Badgers (15-7, 6-7 Big Ten), the Golden Gophers (22-2, 11-2 Big Ten) kept Ohio State from completing a surprising weekend sweep.

No. 8 Wisconsin

The Buckeyes were able to battle back from a 2-0 deficit as they toppled Wisconsin for the first time since 2015 in a five-set match.

The night started off bleak for Ohio State as it quickly fell to Wisconsin in the first and second sets 25-14 and 25-16, respectively. Down two sets, the Buckeyes kicked into high gear in the third set and completely turned the match around.

Senior outside hitter Ashley Wenz accounted for six kills and a .600 hitting percentage in the third set, leading the team to success with 18-of-40 error-free swings for a .450 clip. The Badgers called a timeout after falling behind at 22-18, but the Buckeyes maintained the momentum after the break and won the set 25-21.

The Buckeyes quickly took the lead once again in the fourth set with three consecutive blocks from Wenz, freshman middle blocker Lauren Witte and freshman outside hitter Ayanna Swan. The Badgers narrowed their deficit to one, 23-22, but an error from Wisconsin and a kill by senior outside hitter Luisa Schirmer helped the Buckeyes win, 25-23.

Ohio State kept the game close all throughout the fifth set as both teams played a point-for-point match with eight ties. A kill by Wenz and an attack error by Wisconsin’s senior outside hitter Lauryn Gillis gave Ohio State the last two points it needed for a 15-13 victory.

Schirmer achieved her seventh double-double of the season with 14 kills and 10 digs. Junior setter Taylor Hughes was responsible for 43 assists and 10 digs, her ninth double-double this season, while sophomore outside hitter Bia Franklin reached a career-high 15 digs and five assists.

No. 5 Minnesota

Ohio State could not carry over its momentum from Friday into Saturday night as it lost to the Minnesota Gophers in a 3-0 sweep.

The first set was the closest between the two teams as there were nine lead changes and 13 ties. Although Wenz contributed two aces and two kills, Minnesota won with two consecutive kills from its freshman opposite hitter Stephanie Samedy 25-22.

Ohio State again battled in a close match in the second set with 18 kills and a .421 hitting percentage along with seven kills by Schirmer, but the Gophers earned the set 25-22 with big kills from Samedy and sophomore outside hitter Alexis Hart.

The Buckeyes fell behind in the final set as they committed seven errors on a .146 hitting percentage. Minnesota maintained a pace that Ohio State could not keep up with, and in the end it was the Gophers who took the set 25-19.

Wenz and Franklin helped their team with 11 digs each, while Hughes contributed 31 assists. Swan was the most consistent player of the evening with 10 kills on a .500 hitting percentage.

The Buckeyes will head to Piscataway, New Jersey, on Wednesday for their second showdown against Rutgers starting at 7 p.m.

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