A slow start to the Big Ten season for the Ohio State women’s volleyball team continued as the No. 24 Buckeyes dropped their fifth straight match in straight sets to No. 2 Penn State.
The Buckeyes, who still have seven dates with currently-ranked opponents in their final 11 Big Ten matches, improved their score in each set, but never tallied more than 16 points. The Nittany Lions extended their lead to 17-6 in the first set before closing it out for a 25-9 win.
The second set did not go much better for Ohio State, as the team fell 25-11 before dropping the third 25-16.
Of their seven losses in conference play, the Buckeyes have now been swept four times.
After starting off the season 13-0, including a 12-0 mark in non-conference play, OSU is likely to drop out of the American Volleyball Coaches Association Top 25 Poll for the first time in 2013 when the rankings come out on Monday.
The match with the Nittany Lions exhibited a continued trend of low efficiency offense for the Buckeyes. They tallied just 22 kills compared to 25 attacking errors for an attacking percentage of minus .030.
Senior outside hitter Kaitlyn Leary led the team with nine kills, but finished with the same number of errors. Defensively, not a single OSU player recorded double-digit digs. Freshman defensive specialist Valeria León came the closest with nine.
None of it was enough to overcome a balanced attack from Penn State. The Nittany Lions finished 37 kills while only tallying 11 errors on their way to a .321 attacking percentage.
Deja McClendon led the way with 10 kills and Ariel Scott added nine while five other Nittany Lions combined for the rest.
The Buckeyes will not have much time to regroup as they prepare for a top 15 opponent with a days rest. OSU is scheduled to host No. 13 Nebraska Friday at 7 p.m. in St. John Arena.
After the match the Buckeyes are scheduled to head straight back on the road for dates with No. 10 Michigan State in East Lansing, Mich., on Nov. 1 and No. 17 Michigan in Ann Arbor, Mich., on Nov. 2.