Womens Volleyball Buckeyes kick off Big Ten play with a win

Ohio State freshman outside hitter Vanja Bukilic, freshman outside hitter Adria Powell and sophomore setter Becca Mauer prepare for a volley in the match against Northwestern on Nov. 4, 2018 at St. John Arena. Ohio State lost to Northwestern in four sets. Credit: Colin Gay | Sports EditorOhio State women’s volleyball has now matched its longest winning streak of 2018 with five straight victories after starting its season 3-5.Ohio State (8-5) started the Big Ten portion of its season with a strong four-set (25-19, 17-25, 25-20, 25-22) win against Maryland (8-5) on Wednesday. The Buckeyes provided a comprehensive performance against the Terrapins with offensive power coming from all three positions in the front row. Senior middle hitter Elle Sandbothe collected 14 kills, sophomore outside hitter Adria Powell had a season-best 12 kills and sophomore opposite side hitter Vanja Bukilic added nine kills to Ohio State’s 56 total match kills. These numbers come in spite of a strong defensive showing from Maryland’s front, which had 15 total match blocks.This performance easily bests the Terrapins’ 43 match kills, to which redshirt sophomore middle hitter Katie Meyers contributed 14. Junior outside hitter Erika Pritchard fell below her three kills per set average as she only provided eight total for the Terrapins on Wednesday.The Maryland offense was stifled by eight Buckeye blocks and a stout defensive performance led by this week’s Big Ten Defensive Player and Co-Freshman of the Week, libero Kylie Murr.Murr had 18 of Ohio State’s 54 match digs, which helped the Buckeyes bounce back after their second set loss. Murr’s 5.4 digs per set entering the match were a conference-best and No. 12 in the country.The first two sets proved slow for Ohio State, as it collected 13 and eight set kills respectively, but soon after Ohio State picked up its game, bringing in 18 and 17 set kills in the third and fourth sets.This is a positive first step for the Buckeyes in the Big Ten and provides some momentum moving into the team’s matchup at Michigan (8-3, 1-0 Big Ten) Sunday. The game starts at 2 p.m.

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