Nov. 7, 2012
Site: Columbus, Ohio (St. John Arena)
Score: No. 15 Ohio State 3, Northwestern 1
Records: NU (15-11, 4-11 Big Ten), Ohio State (19-8, 10-5 Big Ten)
Next NU Event: Saturday, Nov. 10 -- at No. 2 Penn State (University Park, Pa.), 6 p.m. CT.
COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Northwestern gave No. 15 Ohio State all it could handle and more at St. John Arena Wednesday night, but the Buckeyes survived the grueling Big Ten clash with a 3-1 triumph. (25-17, 25-27, 25-23, 25-20).
Stephanie Holthus led all players in the match with 20 kills including four crucial terminations during an epic second-set comeback. It marked the eighth time this season that the junior recorded 20 or more kills in a match. Holthus also added 10 digs to earn her 14th double-double in 2012.
"It's disappointing that we made so many unforced mistakes tonight," said Northwestern head coach Keylor Chan. "We had way too many serving errors and we have to clean that up to get to that consistent level that we're striving for."
Ohio State opened the match in near flawless fashion Wednesday night. The Buckeyes hit .500 as a team in the opening set, while Northwestern was plagued with eight attacking errors, including five that were unforced. Both teams struggled from the service line with OSU committing three errors and NU adding a pair of its own. Northwestern's mistakes helped Ohio State to take the opening set by a score of 25-17.
Savannah Paffen led the charge offensively for the 'Cats with five kills at a clip of .500 (5 kills-1 error-8 attempts) in the first set.
Northwestern opened the scoring in the second set as it had in the first, but the miscues began to add up for the visitors. Five early hitting mistakes helped the Buckeyes secure an 11-5 advantage promoting Chan to call a timeout to correct the issue. Ohio State's lead blossomed to seven points at 16-9 before the Wildcats cut into the deficit. A kill by Katie Dutchman and an ace by Abbie Kraus helped to pull NU to within four points at 16-12.
Ohio State would extend its lead to seven points at 24-17, but that's when the Wildcats executed perhaps their finest comeback of the season so far. Northwestern rallied to score seven consecutive points to tie the score on an ace by Paffen. The furious effort didn't end there as Northwestern grabbed its first lead since it was 4-3 at 26-25 on a kill from Holthus. On the next play, NU's All-Big Ten standout was ready once again and she put down her fourth kill of the frame to complete the unforgettable 10-1 run and give the 'Cats a thrilling 27-25 set-two victory.
All four of Holthus' kills in the second set came as her team fought off eight set points.
After Northwestern fell behind 4-1 early in the third set, it charged back to take a 5-4 lead. From that point forward more than three points for the rest of the stanza did not separate the two teams. Ohio State led late, 24-23, and following a timeout, was able to put away the Wildcats, 25-23, on a kill form Mariah Booth.
Though they registered their first two blocks of the night in the stanza, the 'Cats were crushed by seven serving errors in the third set.
The fourth set shaped up to be another tight one at St. John Arena. Northwestern earned an early 8-4 lead, but the Buckeyes would not retreat. OSU put together a 6-1 run of its own to take the lead, 10-9. NU later took a 13-12 lead and the back-and-forth nature would continue.
The Wildcats would claw back to within a point at 20-19, but the Buckeyes closed the night on a 5-1 run to secure their 10th victory in conference play this season.
The two-match road trip continues Saturday night Nov. 10 in University Park, Pa. where the Wildcats will take on No. 2 Penn State at 6 p.m. CT. In its last trip to Rec Hall, Northwestern battled the Nittany Lions through five grueling sets, but was narrowly edged, 3-2.
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