The Ohio State women’s volleyball team capped off its regular season with a dominating effort on Saturday, steamrolling Rutgers on senior night in St. John Arena.
It took only three sets (26-24, 25-7, 25-12) and 74 minutes for the No. 16 team to take down the Scarlet Knights (4-28, 1-19), as the Buckeyes led for nearly the entire match.
OSU finished the regular season with an overall record of 23-9 and placed sixth in the Big Ten with a 12-8 mark.
Fittingly, senior outside hitter Elizabeth Campbell led all players with 14 kills on a proficient .440 hitting percentage in her final regular-season home game. Fellow senior outside hitter Katie Mitchell added 10 kills at an even better .529 clip.
The three other Buckeye seniors saw plenty of action as well. Middle blockers Tyler Richardson and Andrea Kacsits had seven and six kills, respectively, aided by the absence of junior Taylor Sandbothe. Richardson, along with freshman outside hitter Audra Appold, also led her team with three blocks.
Freshman Taylor Hughes started and saw the majority of the playing time at setter with 32 assists, but senior Emily Ruetter did contribute four helpers.
As the score would indicate, OSU far outpaced Rutgers offensively, posting a .319 attack percentage compared to the Scarlet Knights’ dismal .043 rate.
Serving also played a key part in OSU’s commanding win. The Buckeyes racked up nine aces on the night, their second best total of the season.
Libero Valeria León led the way with five aces, adding to another solid defensive night for the junior, who had a game-high 18 digs.
Although the Buckeyes wound up having an overall impressive night from the service line, the match didn’t start off so well in that regard.
Despite Rutgers’ abysmal .105 hitting percentage in the first set, it managed to hang around thanks to four blocks from its defense and four service errors by OSU.
The Buckeyes managed to take decisive late lead, 22-17, but a 7-1 run by the Scarlet Knights allowed them to take a 24-23 advantage. Guided by two Campbell kills and a Rutgers error, however, OSU survived its only scare of the evening.
Powered by six aces — four from León — the second frame featured the Buckeyes’ most lopsided win in any set this season. Behind a .417 attack percentage (and a brutal minus-.136 rate by Rutgers), the Scarlet and Gray raced out to a 16-2 lead — powered by a 12-0 run — and took an 18-point victory into the locker room for the intermission.
It didn’t get any better for Rutgers after the break. With four kills each from Campbell, Mitchell and Kacsits, the Buckeyes attacked .387 for the set, which was more than enough to overpower another lowly percentage (.094) by the Scarlet Knights.
While OSU might be done playing at home in the regular season, it could have at least one more match in St. John Arena.
The team will now turn its attention to the postseason as it hopes to host the first two rounds of the NCAA tournament by earning a top-16 seed. The Buckeyes will find out their fate when the selection show airs Sunday at 9 p.m.