Oct. 5, 2012
COLUMBUS, Ohio - The No. 19 Ohio State women's volleyball team pulled off a come-from-behind victory at No. 21 Illinois, taking a 3-2 (16-25, 25-27, 25-21, 25-15, 15-12) win Friday in Huff Hall. The victory is the Buckeyes' first win over the Illini since 2007.
With the win, Ohio State improved to 12-5 and 3-2 in the Big Ten. Illinois fell to 8-7 and 2-3 in the conference.
Junior Kaitlyn Leary had a team-best 14 kills and finished with five digs for the Buckeyes. Senior Mari Hole totaled 13 kills with eight digs and two block assists, while classmate Emily Danks added 10 kills along with two service aces and five block assists for the squad.
Junior defensive specialists Julianne Mandolfo and Davionna DiSalvatore finished with 13 digs apiece. That mark was a season-best for Mandolfo and the Omaha, Neb., product also added a service ace in the win. Freshman Andrea Kacsits notched a season-high nine kills in the win and the middle blocker had five total blocks (2s, 3a).
Liz McMahon led all attackers with 23 kills for Illinois, while Jocelynn Birks finished with 14. Jennifer Beltran had a match-high 25 digs and setter Annie Luhrsen totaled 52 assists.
Down 2-1 in the first set, the Illini opened up on a 6-0 run for a 7-2 lead. Back-to-back kills by Leary and a service ace brought the Buckeyes within a point, but another Illinois run gave the team an 11-5 lead. Kills by Anna Faul and Danks cut the lead to three at 13-10 before the home squad rebounded to take a 16-11 advantage. The Illini held on to its lead and won the set, 25-16.
Kills by Kacsits and Leary led to a 6-3 Buckeye advantage in the second set and the team held on throughout the beginning of the stanza. Down two at 16-14, the Illini put together a five-point rally to take a 19-16 lead and force an Ohio State timeout. The Buckeyes battled back and a Kacsits service ace gave Ohio State set point at 24-23, but the home squad wasn't out done and rebounded to win, 27-25.
The teams battled back and forth in the third until, tied at 9-9, a kill by Hole led to a 12-9 Ohio State lead. A kill and a service ace by Danks set the score 15-10 and another Buckeye run led to a 19-13 lead to force an Illini timeout. A kill by Hole gave Ohio State set point at 24-21 and a solo block by Kacsits sealed the win, 25-21.
The Buckeyes opened the fourth on a 4-0 run with the help of a handful of Illini errors. Illinois fought back and tied the set at 11 apiece before a kill by Faul and a Kacsits/Hole block pushed the Buckeyes ahead again. A kill from Amanda Peterson at 15-13 triggered a 9-0 Buckeye run for a 23-14 lead and Ohio State forced a fifth and final set with a 25-15 victory.
Illinois took a quick 5-3 lead in the fifth before a kill by Kacsits sent Ohio State on a 4-1 run for a 7-6 advantage. Another Ohio State rally pushed the Buckeyes ahead at 11-8 and a kill by Hole and one by Leary gave Ohio State match point at 14-12. An Illini error sealed the Buckeye match win, 15-12.
Ohio State returns to the court Saturday, traveling to Northwestern for an 8 p.m. ET match in Welsh-Ryan Arena.