Around The Oval: Women's Volleyball Set For Postseason & Men's Soccer Falls in Sweet 16

By Kevin Harrish on November 30, 2015 at 2:15 pm
Ohio State Women's Volleyball

Ohio State excellence is not exclusive to the football field or the basketball court. Around the Oval is our way of keeping you informed of the amazing things happening with the other 34 varsity sports on campus.

The Big Dance

It's tournament time for NCAA women's volleyball, and Ohio State has earned the right to host the first two rounds.

The Buckeyes were selected as the tournament's overall 12-seed after finishing their season 23-9. They'll host Robert Morris in the first round, followed by the winner of American vs. Kentucky.

The full tournament bracket can be seen here

Ohio State enters the NCAA Tournament ranked 16th in the coaches poll and 11th in the NCAA RPI. It's the program's 21st tournament appearance all-time and its fifth in the past six season.

It's been a roller-coaster season for this Buckeye team. After winning 18 of its first 20 matches and climbing the polls to a No. 6 national ranking, the team dropped seven of its last 12 and finished sixth in the conference. 

Regardless of record, this is a dangerous team headed into the tournament. They've been tested with a rigorous regular season schedule and have knocked off multiple top-10 teams. They've proven they can compete with anyone, but they've also proven they can lose to anyone.

The Buckeyes begin their NCAA Tournament run in St. John Arena Friday night at 7 pm against Robert Morris. 

Bitter-Sweet 16

The Ohio State men's soccer team's business trip to Palo Alto did not go quite as planned. Stanford defeated the Buckeyes 3-1, ending their season with 13 wins – good for second in school history. 

The Cardinal, led by U.S. National Team's Jordan Morris, controlled the game much of the first half, but the Buckeye defense was able to hold the match scoreless at the half.

Less than 10-minutes into the second half, Morris found the back of the net to give the Cardinal a 1-0 lead. The Buckeyes, being no strangers to playing from behind, battled back. Freshman Abdi Mohamed scored an equalizer in the 72nd minute to knot it up at 1-1. 

Zach Mason
Ohio State senior Zach Mason (Photo via Ohio State Athletics).

From that point, the scoring was all Stanford. Morris notched another goal just six-minutes later, and Andrew Epstein took advantage of a Buckeye turnover to seal the deal in the 88th minute. The Cardinal prevailed 3-1.

“After the equalizer, I thought we controlled the game for a good portion of the second half, said Buckeye head Coach John Bluem in an OSU release. "But we made some mistakes defensively and it caught up to us. We are a team that isn’t built to chase and we weren’t at our best tonight and a little shorthanded."

The loss closes the book on senior Zach Mason's storied Buckeye career. The 2015 Senior CLASS Award Finalist never missed a start in his four years, tallying 82 career caps. In 82 matches, the midfielder scored just once – accidentally. On senior night against rival Michigan, a ball deflected off Mason's back into the back of the net. 

Other Buckeyes who made their final appearances included B1G Defensive Player of the Year Liam Doyle, B1G Goalkeeper of the Year Chris Froschauer, and the teams co-leading scorer Kyle Culbertson.

Joao Ehlers and Kenny Cunningham are also graduating. Cunningham spent his final seasons at Ohio State plagued with injuries. After being sidelined the entire 2014 campaign due to injury, Cunningham returned for just 11 matches in 2015 before an injury again sidelined him for the season. The forward did manage to notch one goal prior to his injury.

2015 Ohio State
2015 Ohio State Buckeyes (Photo Via Ohio State Athletics).

"I’m real proud of the season we had with this group," said Bluem following the defeat. "After the terrible start, we made it all the way out here in the Sweet 16 against a very good Stanford team. To be Big Ten champions is a tremendous accomplishment."

The Buckeyes lost four of their first five matches, scoring just three goals over the span. They found their form, however, with a 3-3 draw against No. 3 Akron and never lost it. The scarlet and gray went on a 10-match unbeaten streak, notched a school-record eight consecutive victories, and lost only three matches the rest of the season. They also brought home the program's third regular season conference championship. 

The loss stings, but it was season to be proud of for the Buckeyes.

Other Scores and News

  • Women's Volleyball: Fell to No. 4 Minnesota in five sets and swept Rutgers on Senior Night.
  • Women's Basketball: Defeated Liberty and No. 10 Texas A&M. Kelsey Mitchell tied a single-game school record with 42 points.
  •  Men's Hockey: Dropped both games against No. 6 Nebraska-Omaha 3-1 and 6-4.
  • Women's Hockey: Defeated Vermont 5-2 and lost to Boston University 0-3 in Windjammer Classic.
  • Wrestling: Defeated Cleveland State 28-16

This Week's Happenings:

  • Women's Volleyball: Hosts Robert Morris in the first round of the NCAA Tournament and with a win, hosts the Winner of Kentucky vs. American.
  • Women's Basketball: Visits No. 3 Notre Dame Wednesday at 7 pm and Cincinnati Sunday at 1 pm.
  • Men's Hockey: Travels to face Minnesota Friday and Saturday.
  • Wrestling: Competes in Cliff Keen Las Vegas Invitational Friday and Saturday.

Don't Forget to Follow

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