The No. 23 Ohio State women’s volleyball team won a five set exhibition match against Polish professional team, Dabrowa.
OSU looked like the stronger team in the first set, winning 25-22 Wednesday, but Dabrowa stormed back with a 25-6 statement in the second set before the Buckeyes dropped the third set and finished off the fourth and fifth.
Senior defensive specialist Julianne Mandolfo said the Buckeyes were not playing like themselves throughout the second set.
“We were playing way too intense and that’s not how we play at practice,” she said.
The senior was took charge in the huddle after the set.
“I was just saying ‘we need to all calm down,’” Mandolfo said. “I was just reiterating how, when we play at practice, how well we do with each other.”
The Buckeye offense was inconsistent through the first two sets, finishing with 18 kills and 17 errors and Dabrowa, led by Natalia Brussa, pulled out the third set 25-18.
Coach Geoff Carlston said his team was not playing their normal game to that point, especially during the second set.
“I let them know how I felt,” Carlston said. “It was more about the effort, though.”
The coach said he was happy with how his team responded as OSU looked like a new squad in the fourth set, led by freshman middle blocker Taylor Sandbothe.
OSU never wavered throughout the set, getting consecutive Sandbothe service aces to stretch the lead to 17-9. The freshman, who moved to the right side for the match, said she wanted to attack from the service line, even though she also made a few mistakes.
“Just keep serving aggressive,” Sandbothe said. “If you go back there and just lob it in, you’re not helping anybody.”
A kill from sophomore middle blocker Andrea Kacsits finished out a 25-20 fourth set victory for OSU to even the match at two sets apiece.
The Buckeyes were up early in the final set, with a Sandbothe block eventually making it 6-5.
After trading blows with Dabrowa, consecutive kills from Kacsits gave OSU the lead at 13-10 before a kill from junior outside hitter Erin Sekinger sealed the victory, 15-13.
Kacsits, with a huge smile on her face, said “it feels so good” to beat a professional team after the match.
She said her teammates were not sure what to expect from the match and it was fun to see them pull out a victory, even though the play was ugly at times.
“I think it says a lot about who we are as a team and a lot about our captains and our leadership,” Kacsits said.
Kacsits led the Buckeyes with 12 kills on the night, as senior outside hitter Kaitlyn Leary added 10. Sandbothe finished with eight kills and two service aces. Junior setter Taylor Sherwin chipped in with 42 assists.
The Buckeyes travel to Tallahassee, Fla., for the Four Points by Sheraton Seminole Invitational this weekend.
Ohio State is scheduled for two matches Friday, first against No. 16 Western Kentucky at 11 a.m. and later, tournament host No. 15 Florida State at 7 p.m. The Buckeyes close out the tournament against Florida Gulf Coast at noon Saturday.