MANHATTAN, Kan. -- For the third time in as many seasons and seventh time since 2009, the Ohio State University women's volleyball team seized victory in the NCAA Tournament First Round. The Buckeyes (21-12) avenged an early season loss to Missouri State (26-9), getting past the Bears in three sets (25-21, 25-15, 31-29) to open postseason play.
Ohio State executed a potent `6-2' offensive attack, resulting in a .327 overall team hitting percentage and all individual sets at a .306 rate or better. The Buckeyes attacked from all angles as six of eight players to take the floor recorded at least five kills, paced by Taylor Sandbothe's 14 terminations at a .310 hitting clip. Taylor Hughes, directly responsible for 10 kills, and Abby Fesl combined for 46 assists in steering the OSU barrage. Luisa Schirmer carried the load early, bombing 10 kills combined in the first two sets.
A half dozen blocks, four of which Ashley Wenz got in on, helped limit Missouri State to a .114 attack efficiency at intermission.
-- OhioStateWVolleyball (@ohiostatewvball) December 3, 2016
SET 1: Ohio State fell behind by as many as five points in the first set, starting slow out of the gates trailing 13-8. The Buckeyes quickly flipped the script, however, grabbing 15 of the next 20 rallies to garner a five-point edge of their own at 23-18. Fesl and Hughes evenly split 14 assists in steering OSU to a .375 team hitting percentage. The tandem also linked up four times with Hughes recording the termination, including the 25th point.
SET 2: The Buckeyes got off to a sizzling start in the second stanza, racing ahead 9-1 after a long serving stint by Fesl. The OSU cushion would span no less than five points the remainder of the set, ultimately closing 25-15. Schirmer racked up seven kills in the frame, sending the Buckeyes to intermission with two sets in hand.
SET 3: Ohio State trailed for the majority of set number three before clawing back to even the score at 20-20. The ledger would go on to remain at a stalemate for 23-all, 24-all, 25-all, 26-all, 27-all, 28-all and 29-all as the action spilled over into extra time. Missouri State valiantly fended off match-point five times. An Audra Appold kill finally sealed the deal though, advancing the Buckeyes along with a 31-29 triumph.
Set number one Friday night marked the 500th of León's career
Sandbothe moved past Jenny Jackson (1992-95) and into fifth place in school history with her 1,470th career kill
León jumped three slots in the all-time single-season digs list, leaping into fourth place at 592 digs
NCAA TOURNAMENT MARKS
Ohio State all-time | 34-21 (.618) in 22 appearances
Geoff Carlston all-time | 14-11 (.560), including 11-6 (.647) at Ohio State