Around the Oval on Friday, Feb. 1

By Grant Miller on February 1, 2013 at 12:00 pm

Around the Oval is Eleven Warriors' weekly love letter to Ohio State sports that don't get the coverage they should.

As usual, this week's AtO begins with the exploits of Jim Foster's Lady Buckeyes basketball team, who faced No. 8 ranked Penn State and Nebraska this past week.

Master and apprenticeOne day you will score with ease, too.

In front of 6,802 spectators on Sunday — the biggest crowd of the season — Ohio State began brightly and led by 9 at halftime. The Lady Lions had left Columbus winless on their last six trips there, and halfway through Sunday's game that streak was set to continue. 

But the visitors' character shined in the second half, as they regrouped to outscore the Buckeyes by 24 in the period and ultimately secure a 71-56 victory. It was a familiar story for Ohio State, who gave up 43 points in the second half of back-to-back games, while only scoring 20 and 19, respectively. 

It wasn't all negative, though. The dominant Tayler Hill scored 28 and climbed the all-time Ohio State scoring charts once again, this time passing Kim Jordan for 7th. But the biggest positive might have been the play of freshman Ameryst Alston, whose 12 points and five rebounds brought praise from her head coach.

“We have a freshman point guard who gets better every time she goes out," said Foster. "She learns lessons every time she gets in new situations. She’s learning to use her left hand and adjust when they jam her right hand. She’s going to grow with the experience.”

The Buckeyes fared no better against Nebraska last night, as they fell, 62-53, at Value City Arena. Hill was at it again, scoring 22 points — her 54th consecutive game in double digits, which is the longest active streak in the conference. Ashley Adams also contributed with a return to form, as she posted her fifth double-double of the year. It was also the first time the Buckeyes had outscored their opponent in the second half since their win against Indiana, but it wasn't enough.

The team looks to regain some momentum when they face the Hoosiers on Saturday at 2 p.m. in Bloomington, and then return home to face Wisconsin the following Thursday at 7 p.m.

Men's Hockey

After enduring their first point-less weekend of league play this season, the Ohio State men's hockey team needed to bounce back decisively — and they did exactly that, sweeping Lake Superior State at home last weekend by scores of 3-2 and 6-1.

In Friday night's game, the Buckeyes scored twice in the opening period through Riley Simpson and a power-play marker from Curtis Gedig. Early in the second a Tanner Fritz goal looked to have wrapped the game up, but the Lakers scored twice in the third to make things interesting.

Although the visitors threw everything they could at Mark Osiecki's team, senior goalie Brady Hjelle was up to the task again as OSU held on for its first win in four games, 3-2

The second game produced Ohio State's greatest offensive performance of the year, as they put six goals past a combination of two Laker goalies. 

Dzingel bellsCaptain Marvel

With four goals in the first six minutes, Ohio State seemed to score almost at will, and one can imagine the thoughts that were going through Laker coach Jim Roque's head. The lead was 5-0 in the first before the visitors scored with just over two minutes to go in the period.

No goals were scored in the second, but after Lake Superior State decided to pull their goalie less than halfway through the third, captain Ryan Dzingel put the finishing touches on an incredible evening, and became the 12th Buckeye to register a point in the process. Dzingel leads the Buckeyes with 23 points and is tied for third in the CCHA in that category.

Alex Szczechura had two goals and Tanner Fritz had two assists as everything clicked in the attacking zone for Ohio State during their emphatic 6-1 win. Hjelle was terrific as usual, making 30 saves and earning himself the CCHA Warrior Goaltender of the Week honor for the fourth time. 

With the sweep, the Buckeyes leapfrogged the Lakers and now own a 9-6-3-1 record in conference and sit at 6th in the standings. A massive weekend at home awaits Ohio State this week, with the Fighting Irish of Notre Dame coming to Columbus. The Irish are 3rd in the CCHA, and a strong showing from Ohio State could put them in contention for a first-round bye in the CCHA tournament. Puck drop on both Friday and Saturday night is 7:05 p.m. at Value City Arena. 

Men's Volleyball

This past weekend the No. 11 Ohio State men's volleyball team began their conference campaign with a sweep of Lindenwood University, winning both matches 3-0.

Saturday night's star performer for the Buckeyes was sophomore Michael Henchy, whose 15 kills, two digs and three service aces steered his team to victory. Surviving a few Lindenwood rallies in the first set, the Buckeyes found themselves at set point after one of senior John Tholen's four solo blocks made the score 24-14 before a Lindenwood error clinched the set.

A 7-1 run in the second set and a 7-0 run in the third put Ohio State in pole position, with Henchy capping off his excellent evening by ending both sets, giving OSU the 3-0 (25-14, 25-22, 25-22) win. 

Sunday afternoon went no different for the visiting Scarlet & Gray, even though they began under more pressure when Lindenwood jumped out to a 5-1 lead. Runs of 8-2 and 6-1 were required as the fourth straight set of the weekend was secured. 

A back-and-forth second set ensued, the Lions realizing they had to stop the Ohio State momentum if they were going to have any chance of retrieving the afternoon. With a 20-16 lead, Lindenwood could sense a first win. But it was not forthcoming. Henchy was the man again as his kill sparked an 8-0 run for the Buckeyes, with another kill and an error by the hosts completing the second set turnaround.

Redshirt sophomore Andrew Lutz had nine of his 15 kills in the third set, as Ohio State maintained an advantage from 10-10 on to finish Lindenwood for the afternoon by a score of 3-0 (25-21, 25-23, 25-20). Ohio State returns home this weekend to take on NJIT on Friday and George Mason on Saturday. Both matches are scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. at St. John Arena. 

Women's Swimming & Diving

It was a wonderful Senior Day for the elder members of the Buckeye women's swim and dive team, as they beat Cincinnati, 171-115.

Fittingly, it was a team of four seniors who got Ohio State off to the perfect start when the troupe of Kelsey Moran, Kelly Titus, Shannon Draves and Megan Detro won the 200 medley relay.  

But there were also significant contributions from some much younger members of the team. Freshmen swimmers Reanna Dona, Annie Lazor and Annie Jongekrijg each won their individual meets — the 100 backstroke, breaststroke, and 50 freestyle, respectively. Junior Alex Norris won the 200 freestyle, while junior Angela Severn clinched the win in the 200 butterfly.

There was also a win for the Buckeyes in the diving department, as redshirt sophomore Cheyenne Cousineau won the 3-meter springboard.

Many congratulations are due to this squad, who finished a perfect 6-0 in their home dual schedule. The Buckeyes (7-2) will compete at the Northwestern Invitational this weekend.   

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