COLUMBUS, Ohio -- The No. 24 Ohio State University women's volleyball team improved to 5-2 on the season by handing Notre Dame (6-1) its first defeat of 2017. The Buckeyes not only knocked off the Fighting Irish, but did so in straight sets (25-20, 25-21, 25-23). These same two squads will square off again Sunday at 1 p.m. ET in South Bend, Ind., to wrap up the impromptu home-and-home series scheduled following the cancellation of the Coastal Carolina Classic earlier in the week because of Hurricane Irma threats.
Luisa Schirmer paced all players with both 13 kills and 14 digs on the evening. Hannah Gruensfelder matched that dig total in making her seventh consecutive start to begin her collegiate career. Taylor Hughes was a force in the middle, not only dishing out 33 assists but also connecting for eight kills on 12 error-free attacks.
Lauren Witte continued her dominance at the net, sending back four Irish attacks. She is averaging 1.48 blocks per set through the first seven matches of her collegiate career.
Set 1: Neither offense could get unhitched in the opening frame as a total of 49 digs were made. Ohio State supplemented its 24 digs with four blocks to hold Notre Dame to an .040 hitting percentage. Witte was in on three of the stuffs whlie Gruensfelder racked up eight digs. Tied 9-9, the Fighting Irish missed the mark for three straight attack errors, offering Ohio State an edge it would not relinquish en route to a 25-20 winner.
Set 2: Ohio State gained control early in the second stanza and maintained that upper hand throughout in a 25-21 triumph in which the Buckeyes never trailed. Hughes went on the offensive, swatted four kills to go along with a dozen assists as OSU attacked .421 for the set. Ohio State stretched the advantage to as many as seven tallies at 23-16 before a late-set run for the Irish forced an Ohio State timeout at 24-21. Hughes took the next ball on two, and closed out the set with her fourth kill.
Set 3: The Buckeyes had a fight on their hands in the third, getting past Notre Dame by a pair in the 25-23 clincher. Hughes fed the ball to her pin hitters 30 times, including 16 and 11 attempts for Schirmer and Audra Appold, respectively. Schrimer inflicted the most havoc, bouncing six kills. The final kill originated from the middle, however, when a one-handed set tight to the net from Hughes found Witte for the match-winning kill.
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