The Ohio State women’s volleyball team has had winning streaks of 11 and seven so far this season. It has yet to have a losing streak.
Coming off its third loss of the season in three sets to Michigan State on Wednesday, No. 6 OSU (19-3, 8-2) rebounded with a tight win over No. 23 Michigan on Saturday, as neither team won a set by more than two points (25-23, 23-25, 28-26, 28-26). The win marked the Buckeyes’ first in Ann Arbor since 2011.
OSU reverted back to its stingy ways on defense against Michigan, recording a season-high 16 blocks and holding the Wolverines to a .173 attack percentage.
Senior middle blocker Tyler Richardson had a hand in eight of those blocks, while junior middle blocker Taylor Sandbothe was credited with six.
Offensively, the Buckeyes were led by their outside hitters. Senior Elizabeth Campbell had 17 kills and her five block assists gave her a game-high 19.5 points. Sophomore Luisa Schirmer wasn’t far behind with 19 points on a season-best 16 kills and four blocks (two solo), while freshman Audra Appold had her fourth career double-double with 15 kills and 14 digs.
Sandbothe also had a big night on the attack with 13 kills, giving her 16.5 points on the night.
Freshman setter Taylor Hughes did not play against the Wolverines with a left arm injury suffered in OSU’s loss on Wednesday, but senior Emily Ruetter filled in admirably. The Texas Tech transfer logged her second double-double of the season, assisting on 54 points — her best total in a scarlet and gray uniform — and digging 15 balls.
OSU came out of the gate with an impressive .370 attack percentage, taking a narrow victory in the first set. Schirmer nearly matched her season-high of nine kills in the first frame alone, picking up seven of the Buckeyes’ 21 kills.
The score was the same in the second set, but reversed in favor of Michigan, which was able to overcome five blocks from OSU to even the contest.
In the third set, OSU recorded six more blocks — three from Sandbothe — as it staged a comeback win to take a 2-1 lead. Down by as many as five points, the Buckeyes battled their way back to tie things at 24 and send the set to extra points, where they would eventually pull ahead for good.
The fourth set was as closely contested as the first three, with the teams trading leads five different times. Michigan all-Big Ten outside hitter Abby Cole had six of her 17 kills in the set as Michigan eventually took a 24-22 lead and threatened to send the game to a fifth set. But the Buckeyes again evened the score to force extra points before coming away with a 28-26 win.
The Buckeyes are scheduled to return home to St. John Arena for their next game on Wednesday a meeting with defending national champion Penn State. First serve is set for 7 p.m.
Correction: An earlier version of the story incorrectly said that Wednesday’s meeting with Penn State is the first matchup between the teams since 2006.