Women's volleyball: Ohio State stuns top-ranked Nebraska in Lincoln
LINCOLN, Neb. — Déjà vu struck inside a packed house at the Devaney Center as Ohio State exited with victory in hand (17-25, 25-21, 25-21, 25-13) for the third consecutive time (2012, 2014, 2016). The most recent victory snaps No. 1 Nebraska's 28-match winning streak dating back to last season and marks the fourth win for Ohio State over the Huskers in the last five meetings. The 19th-ranked Buckeyes improve to 12-4 this season and even up the Big Ten ledger at 2-2 after a pair of victories this week.
Since joining the Big Ten in 2011, Nebraska owns a winning record against all conference school except Ohio State at 4-4. The Buckeyes are 4-3 all-time in Lincoln overall in program history.
After dropping the opening set, 25-17, the Buckeyes turned it on and outscored Nebraska by a combined 20 points over the last three sets. It all came to crescendo with a 25-13 drubbing in the fourth to shut the door. Ohio State's Luisa Schirmer attacked .480 on 14 kills during the three victorious sets. She added in a dozen digs to record her second straight double-double. Schirmer was also responsible for three block assists and two service aces, directly responsible for 19.5 points.
Taylor Sandbothe matched Schirmer's 19.5 points, going berserk to the tune of 12 kills, nine blocks (2s, 7a) and a pair of aces. Sandbothe's .346 hitting pace was only surpassed by fellow Taylor, Hughes, terminating a career-high 11 kills at a .500 rate (11-2-18). Freshman Camry Halmpaced the squad digging up 14 balls, helping to limit Nebraska at a .175 attacking efficiency overall.
On the night, Sandbothe leaped over Danielle Meyer (2004-07) into second place on the all-time Ohio State career blocks list. The senior Buckeye from Lee's Summit, Missouri, now owns 481 blocks and is chasing down current record-holder Dawn McDougall (1988-91) and her 517 rejections.
Set 1: The opening set was tightly contested until a 9-1 run for the Huskers converted a slim 13-12 lead into a 21-13 stronghold. The eight-point margin held steady through a final tally of 25-17 in favor of Nebraska.
Set 2: Hughes took matters into her own hands during the second stanza, carrying the OSU offense by directly impacting 17 of the team's 18 kills on 11 assists and six kills. Despite Hughes' heroic effort, the Buckeyes found themselves trailing 15-13 midway through the period when a four-point OSU spurt comprised of back-to-back-to-back-to-back kills by Team Taylor — a pair of put-aways from Hughes bookend by Sandbothe kills. Ohio State would tack on two more tallies to its advantage by set's end (25-21), tying up the match heading to intermission.
Set 3: Offensive fireworks were aplenty in the third. Ohio State attacked .536 while the Huskers came in at .312. The score evened up on 13 different occasions before the Buckeyes went ahead for good via a Hughes-to-Sandbothe hook-up to shove OSU on top 20-19. Ohio State then secured five of the next seven rallies for another 25-21 triumph.
Set 4: The Buckeye attack cooled slightly in set number four, dipping to a still-impressive .346 clip. Meanwhile, Sandbothe wagged her finger en route to five rejections, driving the Huskers into the red offensively with a negative-.057 hitting percentage. The flood gates opened up pretty quick when Ohio State raced ahead 7-3 to force a Husker timeout. The break in action did little to slow down the Scarlet Train, barreling down the tracks to its final destination — a 25-13 clincher. The Buckeyes posted a flawless 100 percent side-out rate in the final set, taking the point on all 13 Husker serves.