Ohio State ended their road trip with a 3-0 bounce-back win at Xtream Arena Sunday.
After dropping seven straight to ranked opponents, the No. 21 Buckeyes (4-7, 1-1 Big Ten) beat Iowa (8-6, 0-2 Big Ten) on the road in straight sets (25-22, 26-24, 25-14) to snap their losing streak.
“Every match in the Big Ten will present challenges, and no question Iowa fought hard today,” head coach Jen Flynn Oldenburg said.
The Buckeyes’ key to victory was their offense, as the .305 hitting percentage was their best in a game since they hit .467 in a sweep against East Tennessee State Aug. 27.
Senior outside hitter Emily Londot led the charge with 16 kills, keeping her hot streak alive as she’s reached double-digit kills in every match this season.
London wasn’t the only one with a kill streak. Senior middle blocker Rylee Rader and freshman middle blocker Eloise Brandewie picked up nine kills apiece. Sophomore outside Chelsea Thorpe was right with them, picking up eight of her own.
“Rylee Rader and Eloise Brandewie came up big in the middle,” Oldenburg said.
Alongside a strong offensive showing, the Buckeyes’ defense was strong, especially with the play of their liberos.
Freshman libero Kaitlyn Hoffman and junior libero Sydney Taylor picked up 13 and 11 digs, respectively, heading the charge for a Buckeye defense that picked up 56 total digs on the day.
“Taylor also provided a spark off the bench that we needed both offensively and defensively,” Oldenburg said.
Their range helped the Buckeye defense stop the Hawkeye offense short, forcing 16 attack errors and a .168 hitting percentage.
“Our defense set the tone for the match, which allowed our offense to get going a bit,” Oldenburg said.
The Buckeyes began on top, beating Iowa in a tight first set. A 6-0 run and an attack error-turned-kill courtesy of Brandewie sealed it after a well-timed Oldenburg challenge. That came after seven ties and three lead changes, as the Buckeyes took it 25-22.
“It was good to see us compete with composure at the end of the first two sets to earn a much-needed win on the road,” Oldenburg said.
In another close frame, Ohio State pulled it off in the end. Neither team surrendered a lead bigger than 3 points, as the Big Ten squads tied 18 times and swapped leads seven times en route to a 26-24 Buckeye win.
After their efforts in the first couple of sets, Ohio State was able to complete the sweep with a strong final set in which it didn’t give up the lead once, winning it 25-14.
Ohio State will face off against No. 1 Wisconsin in a tough Big Ten home opener Wednesday, at 8 p.m.