Ohio State freshman opposite hitter Vanja Bukilic attempts s shot against Northwestern on Nov. 4 at St. John Arena. Ohio State lost to Northwestern in four sets. Credit: Colin Gay | Sports Editor

For the second week in a row, the Ohio State women’s volleyball (12-14, 3-11 Big Ten) team fell to Northwestern (14-12, 4-10 Big Ten); this time in four close sets (19-25, 25-18, 27-29, 20-25).

“We’re a little tentative at the end of set,” Ohio State head coach Geoff Carlston said. “I thought we controlled a lot of the match tonight, but we just didn’t finish it. I thought we played a lot of good volleyball but not at the end when it really mattered.”

The teams held a tight match throughout the third set and were tied at 14 before the Buckeyes took a lead. They held a close but steady lead until falling back 24-22. The set tied at 24 and the lead bounced back-and-forth before the Wildcats finished on top in a 29-27 decision.  

“It’s tough to practice those moments,” said Carlston. “You just gotta go through them.”

Northwestern freshman outside hitter Ella Grbac led the team with 17 kills.

Ohio State sophomore setter Becca Mauer and junior outside hitter Ana Beatriz Franklin both had three service aces.

Northwestern had 13 underclassmen on its 17-player roster, a dynamic that Carlston said was a struggle that the Buckeyes face themselves.

Senior setter Olivia Dailey is one of two seniors on the team and had a match-high 38 assists against Northwestern.

“With all the games I’ve played I think I can help them see the game a little better, I can put my hitters in the best situation,” Dailey said.

Also akin to the Buckeyes, the Wildcats spent the majority of their opening season on the road and did not play home until their 15th match of the season. Based on their past opponents’ winning percentage, Northwestern was ranked 14th for toughest schedules in the nation.

Ohio State will get back on the road to East Lansing, Michigan to face Michigan State on Wednesday at 7 p.m.