Around the Oval: Women's Volleyball Season Ends With Five-Set Home Loss to Illinois

By Jimmy Longo on November 27, 2017 at 3:25 pm
Ohio State women's volleyball
via Ohio State Athletics

After a successful four-year run for a trio of Ohio State volleyballers, their collegiate careers and the season for their team ended Friday night at St. John Arena as the Ohio State women's volleyball team lost a back-and-forth affair to Illinois in five sets, 17-25, 25-21, 21-25, 25-22, 15-13. 

Ohio State started quickly and rather dominantly in the first set, with the distance accumulating on a 6-0 spurt in the middle of the set that sent the team from a 11-10 deficit to a 16-11 lead. After a brief run by the Illini, Ohio State kept firing and pulled away at 21-14 before ending the set with the 25-17 advantage.

Illinois rebounded in the second. Things were early even as the two teams played to a 14-all score before Illinois started to make their move. Eventually that swing allowed them to gain a 21-17 advantage, which they rode to a 25-21 evener.

Alike the first set where they rolled, Ohio State took advantage of a lengthy run to widen the margin between themselves and Illinois. After being knotted up at 9-all, the 6-2 run pushed the score to 15-11 Buckeyes, where they held the lead for the rest of the set. The closest the advantage would get was at 18-16, but OSU held on throughout for the 2-1 advantage into the fourth frame.

The fourth set was a very winnable set for the Buckeyes, and if they had played the entire set the way they played the latter half of it, they'd probably have come away with the four-set victory. But because of Illinois' 18-12 start, it was a highly unlikely deficit to overcome. Alas, Ohio State got within a point to make it 20-19, but a killer service error gave the 21-19 advantage back to the Illini where they scored two more points to make it 23-19 and held on for the 25-22 set win.

The final set of the match came down to the fire. After three attack errors from the Buckeyes and another kill from Illinois, Ohio State was at an early disadvantage in the deciding stanza. Thereafter they were in holes of 2-5 and 3-6, but they managed to knot the score at 7-7 on an Illini miss.

After some more back-and-forth, the Buckeyes got their first lead of the final set off a kill from Bia Franklin, though the lead was brief. After gaining the lead, the point spread went Illini kill followed by service ace and an attack error giving Illinois a 13-11 advantage. The final point of the match on an out call from the line judge on the Illinois side was challenged by Ohio State head coach Geoff Carlston, but the call was upheld and Illinois came away with 15-13 set five win.

The senior class led the way for the Buckeyes in the final game of their collegiate careers. Ashley Wenz bombed 24 kills, 14 digs and two service aces while battery mate Luisa Schirmer contributed 14 kills of her own to go along with 15 digs for a double-double — her ninth of the season. The third and final senior, defensive specialist Kalisha Goree contributed two digs throughout the effort and played in four of the five sets. 

Ohio State finished the season with a 15-16 mark and a record of 8-12 in the Big Ten.

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