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Ohio State women’s volleyball selected for NCAA tournament after 2 wins to close out regular season

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Members of the OSU women’s volleyball team celebrate a win against University of Maryland on Nov. 7 at St. John Arena. OSU won 3-1. Credit: Madelyn Grant / Lantern photographer

Members of the OSU women’s volleyball team celebrate a win against University of Maryland on Nov. 7 at St. John Arena. OSU won 3-1.
Credit: Madelyn Grant / Lantern photographer

The No. 20 Ohio State women’s volleyball team will head to Lexington, Ky., to compete in the 2014 NCAA tournament against Lipscomb on Friday.

Winners of the Atlantic Sun conference, the Bisons (21-8, 13-1)  are No. 33 in in the NCAA RPI and have their conference’s Coach of the Year, Brandon Rosenthal, on their side.

Lipscomb has one ranked win on on the season, as it defeated then-No. 22 Kansas on Aug. 29 in the Kansas Invitational.

Should the Buckeyes go onto defeat the Bisons, they will play the winner of No. 13 Kentucky (26-5, 15-3) and Oakland (22-9, 12-2).

The second-round match is scheduled for Saturday at 7 p.m.

Before learning their tournament fate, the Buckeyes defeated Rutgers (7-26, 0-20) on Saturday and Minnesota last Wednesday to finish the regular season 21-11 overall and 12-8 in Big Ten play.

In Saturday’s match, OSU went into Piscataway, N.J., and swept the Scarlet Knights (25-18, 25-13, 25-17).

Freshman outside hitter Luisa Schirmer led all players in kills with 17, followed by junior outside hitter Elizabeth Campbell with 10. Schirmer was the lone player on the night with a double-double, as she also had 10 digs, which was a team-high for OSU.

Buckeye senior setter Taylor Sherwin had 44 assists, while Rutgers totaled 28 assists as a team.

The Scarlet Knights are the only team in Big Ten play who didn’t win a conference game.

Against Minnesota (19-12, 9-11), the Buckeyes got back on the winning side, after being swept by the eventual Big Ten conference champions No. 2 Wisconsin.

But more importantly for OSU, it was senior night and the team wanted to send its seniors out with a win.

Middle blocker Anna Faul, outside hitter Erin Sekinger, Sherwin and defensive specialist Alyssa Winner took to St. John Arena for the final time in their OSU careers.

The Buckeyes won the first two sets, which included a late run in the second set.

After being down 2-0, the Golden Gophers played competitively with the Buckeyes, causing the third set to be close throughout, with no team having a higher lead than three points. Minnesota prevailed, 29-27, forcing a fourth frame.

The Golden Gophers went on to win the fourth set and carry momentum into the fifth set, but the Buckeyes won the final game, 15-8.

Winner said she was glad the Buckeyes were able to pull out a win and to play for OSU throughout her four years.

“It’s an overwhelming feeling,” Winner said. “This whole arena, everyone I’ve played with my past four years. My coaches who’ve helped me through everything and just playing for something bigger than yourself, it’s just awesome.”

Campbell led all players in kills with 20, followed by Schirmer with 17. Sandbothe also had double-digit kills for the Buckeyes with 11.

Sekinger had nine kills on the night, while Sherwin had 58 assists.

Winner had 14 digs for OSU, and was one of four Buckeyes to have double-digit digs. Sophomore libero Valeria León led with 15, while Campbell and Schirmer had 13 and 12, respectively. Faul was ruled out for the season after undergoing ACL surgery.

OSU’s first-round match against Lipscomb is scheduled to start at 5 p.m.

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