The No. 6 Ohio State women’s volleyball team lost 3-1 to the No. 12 Minnesota Golden Gophers Sunday in Minneapolis in a tightly contested top-15 matchup.
The Gophers (12-6) entered the match 6-2 in Big Ten conference play, which tied them with Ohio State in the conference standings. Ohio State (16-4) was 34-48 in the all-time series against Minnesota. The teams had not met since the 2019 fall season when the Gophers swept the Buckeyes at the Covelli Center Nov. 10, 2019.
Ohio State was the first team to take a lead in set one after back-to-back kills by junior outside hitter Jenaisya Moore to go up 7-5. The teams remained within two points of each other until Minnesota was able to take the one-point edge at the media timeout, 15-14.
A 3-0 serving run by junior setter Mac Podraza followed to put the Buckeyes back in the lead and forced a Minnesota timeout at 18-15. Following the break, Minnesota was able to regain the lead after a kill and a block by redshirt senior outside hitter Airi Miyabe, 19-18. The set remained tight until the Buckeyes took a late three-point edge to win the first set, 25-22.
It was back-and-forth to start the second set with both teams hitting bombs. Minnesota was the first team to pull ahead after consecutive kills by Miyabe to go up, 10-7. A solo block by redshirt senior middle hitter Katie Myers put Minnesota ahead 15-11 at the media timeout.
The Buckeyes came fighting back with a 4-0 serving run by senior defensive specialist Hannah Gruensfelder to get back within a point, 17-16. However, a great dig by sophomore outside hitter Jenna Wenaas helped the Gophers lengthen their lead to 20-17. Minnesota capitalized on some hitting and blocking errors by the Buckeyes to win the second set, 25-21.
Minnesota scored the first six points of set three to force an early Ohio State timeout. Following the break, Ohio State climbed back within a point, 12-11, after a couple kills by Moore, who was hitting over .600. A service ace by junior defensive specialist Rachel Kilkelly helped Minnesota regain its lead, 17-14.
An incredible rally by both teams was finished from a kill by Wenaas that helped the Gophers keep a three-point lead at 21-18. However, the Buckeyes were not backing down with a solo block by freshman middle hitter Arica Davis to get back within a point, 21-20. Despite the Buckeyes’ fight, Minnesota was able to win the third set, 25-21.
The fourth set started with some fantastic rallies with the teams going point-for-point. Ohio State was the first team to take the lead, going up 15-12 at the media timeout. Following the break, a couple of errors by the Buckeyes combined with redshirt senior opposite hitter Stephanie Samedy getting her 22nd kill of the match to put Minnesota up 19-17 and forced an Ohio State timeout.
After the timeout, Minnesota capitalized on some miss-connections by Ohio State to extend its lead to 23-19 and force the Buckeyes to take their second timeout. Following the break, the Buckeyes fought back with strong defense, but the Gophers were able to win the match 25-21.
Ohio State resumes play Friday in Ann Arbor, Michigan, against the Wolverines at 7 p.m.