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Women’s volleyball on the road again at Missouri State

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Senior middle blocker Taylor Sandbothe, junior outside hitter Luisa Schirmer and sophomore setter Taylor Hughes gather near the net during a match against LIU Brooklyn. The Buckeyes won 3-0. Credit: Jenna Leinasars | Assistant News Director

Senior middle blocker Taylor Sandbothe, junior outside hitter Luisa Schirmer and sophomore setter Taylor Hughes gather near the net during a match against LIU Brooklyn. The Buckeyes won 3-0. Credit: Jenna Leinasars | Assistant News Director

On Saturday, the Ohio State women’s volleyball team suffered its first loss of the season in a five-set battle with Brigham Young University during the Sports Imports D.C. Koehl Classic at Nationwide Arena. Even though the outcome was not in their favor, the team is choosing to learn from early mistakes as they move ahead to this weekend’s competition.

“When you lose, it’s an opportunity for your team to fracture a little bit … but this group got better and got closer through having gone through a tough, five-set loss,” said OSU coach Geoff Carlston.

Sophomore outside hitter Audra Appold said losing that match will help her team develop for future play.

“We’ve talked a lot about having a growth mindset, looking at failure as an opportunity to grow and challenge yourself,” she said.

She added that members of the “tribe” were able to lift one another up after the loss and keep a positive attitude.

“A huge part of our team is our culture and how we talk to each other and how we motivate each other … knowing the moment, knowing who responds to what in that moment,” Appold said. “We’re big on support.”

The Buckeyes will be away again this weekend, heading to Springfield, Missouri, for the Dr. Mary Jo Wynn Invitational. They will take on Indiana University – Purdue University Indianapolis, Missouri State and University of Wisconsin – Green Bay.

This marks the third weekend in a row the team will be away from its home court. OSU returns to St. John Arena in its first home match on Sept. 28, but the team is trying to make the best of a not ideal situation.

Appold said being away from Columbus doesn’t shake her, and she’s ready to play in front of the St. John Arena crowd.

“I personally really like playing on the road and enjoy the experience,” she said. “So I’m excited for that, but definitely excited to bring a Big Ten match to St. John Arena and see who comes out for it in support.”

Senior libero Valeria León feels playing on the road helps her concentrate on the goals the team has set.

“When you play away, you’re more focused on the team,” she said. “So just stick together and we’ll be fine.”

León’s focus on her game showed last weekend when she moved into third place for most career digs in OSU women’s volleyball history with 1,342. She surpassed Leisa Wissler (1,341), with her next sight set on surpassing second-place holder Ami Stevens (1,394).

Each team the Buckeyes will be playing this weekend brings its own resume of successes, which could be challenging for OSU’s squad.

Carlston said that IUPUI has played great defense, and it will make the Buckeyes earn every point. Green Bay is foreign to this OSU team, but the Phoenix hold an undefeated record going into the weekend – all but one of the team’s victories have been 3-0 sweeps.

Missouri State has already taken down then-No. 14 Illinois in a close, five-set match – a sign to the Bucks that this team will come ready to play.

The Bears also finished 24-11 last year and played in their conference title match, losing in five sets to Wichita State.

“They’ve played a very tough schedule. We knew when we scheduled, they were going to be a top-25 team,” Carlston said. “We’re going to learn. We’re going to earn our stripes.”

OSU will play their first match of the Dr. Mary Jo Wynn Invitational versus IUPUI at 1 p.m. on Friday at Hammons Student Center in Springfield, Missouri.

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