COLUMBUS, Ohio - The No. 20 Ohio State University women's volleyball team (2-2) fell in four sets (25-18, 25-21, 21-25, 25-20) to the Bears of Missouri State University (3-1) Friday night inside St. John Arena. It marked the first contest of three for OSU during the round-robin Sports Imports D.C. Koehl Classic. The Buckeyes get back at it on Saturday (Sept. 2) for a day-night doubleheader versus Oakland (3-2) at noon and Lipscomb (3-1) in the tournament capper at 8 p.m.
A baker's dozen worth of Buckeyes saw action in multiple sets, searching for the right combo to mount a comeback. Ohio State had it rolling in the third set to cut the deficit in half before a rebounding fourth for the Bears cloesd out the evening.
Junior classmates Audra Appold and Taylor Hughes each posted double-doubles. Appold did so with a team-high 15 kills flanked by 14 digs while Hughes recorded 43 assists and 12 digs. Appold also paced her squad by attacking .382 (15-2-34).
Freshmen Hannah Gruensfelder and Lauren Witte maintained their impressive numbers into weekend number two and their fourth consecutive start. Gruensfelder averaged 4.5 digs per set and Witte dropped in eight kills at a .273 hitting rate to go along with four blocks. Fellow frosh Ayanna Swan received extensive play, too, finishing off seven kills.
Set 1: Missouri State blazed through the first frame, swinging .424 on 15 kills and pulling away after breaking up a 7-7 tie early on.
Set 2: Despite owning an advantage in every statistical category across the box score sans service errors (four to one), Ohio State came out on the wrong of a 25-21 second stanza. Luisa Schirmer terminated seven of 13 error-free attempts in a valiant individual effort.
Set 3: Appold and Smeathers assumed the heavy offensive lifting in the third, combining for 13 kills and a lone error on 19 attacks. Ohio State hit .548, yet struggled to shake the pesky Bears until late in the period. The Buckeyes trailed 17-16 when an MSU service error cut down what would be the Bears' final edge set. Ohio State seized eight of the next 12 tallies to extend the contest into a fourth set on the strength of a 25-21 triumph.
Set 4: Momentum evaporated in between sets, however, extinguished by a 10-3 jolt for Missouri State to start it off. The Buckeyes then responded nicely and tightened the gap to 10-7 on four consecutive points. Following a Bears timeout at that juncture, Missouri State expanded its lead to five points at 12-7. That margin would remain until the match's conclusion, 25-20.
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