Last time the Spartans and Buckeyes met was in Columbus, Ohio where MSU pulled out a sweep in the opening weekend of Big Ten play. With that in mind, after four consecutive losses, the Spartans looked to improve their 6-4 Big Ten record with another win over Ohio State.
The game began early with a tie score at three, but the Spartans were able to get the lead at 7-3 thanks to kills by Alexis Mathews and Taylor Galloway, an ace by Kori Moster and a Buckeye error. The Spartans were able to once again extend the lead to five and increased it to six at 11-5 with a Lauren Wicinski kill before Ohio State took a timeout. The Buckeyes were able to close that lead within three at 13-11, but Chloe Reinig got a kill to gain control again and extended it to 17-11 due to two errors by the Buckeyes, a Wicinski kill and a Reinig block before a OSU timeout was called. The Buckeyes came out of the timeout with three consecutive kills but Reinig ended that run with a kill from the right. MSU had a 22-18 lead thanks to a gentle tap over by Galloway but OSU was able to get two points before they had an attacking error to bring the set to 23-20. Buckeyes got another point, but then hit it out of bounds bringing it to set point. The first set was then won 25-21 thanks to the block of Wicinski and Mathews.
A timeout was called by Ohio State with the Spartans ahead 8-3. The Buckeyes came out of the timeout with two consecutive points, but Mathews put an end to that with a kill deep in the back. At 11-6 the Spartans set OSU’s Taylor Sandbothe up for a fierce kill, but Galloway retaliated with a kill and Fitterer followed with a service ace. Chloe Reinig got a kill off a poor Buckeyes block bringing the score to 14-7 and OSU to call a timeout. The Spartans thought they had the kill by Fitterer, but somehow the Buckeyes saved it and got a point out of the save bringing the set to 20-15. The Buckeyes added two more points from there, as the Spartans began to play sloppily, so MSU coach Cathy George called a timeout with a 20-17 lead. MSU came back with a kill, but a Wicinski error gave OSU a point. The Buckeyes got a kill of their own before an attacking error was committed by the Spartans. At 22-20 the Buckeyes gained a point from an error, but Reinig gave the Spartans a two point lead and sent Kristin Kelsay back to serve. Both teams were tied at 23 before a Spartan timeout was called. The Spartans came out of the timeout to gain a point, and the set was finished thanks to the blocking duo of Mathews and Reinig.
The Buckeyes changed things up in the third set coming out with a 10-7 lead. The Spartans then went on a 7-1 run to give MSU their first lead of the third set at 14-11 and brought OSU to take a timeout. The Buckeyes came out of their huddle and gained two points but Wicinski gained a kill to stop their rally. Fitterer and Wicinski had back-to-back kills to get Ohio State to call a timeout at 18-13. The Spartans went point for point with the Buckeyes, but were able to pull away and bring the match to set point thanks to a Wicinski kill. The Spartans ended up winning the match in a sweep off of a Buckeye error and ended their four game losing streak.
The next game for the Spartans will be tomorrow at 8:30 against No. 2 Penn State and will be televised on the Big Ten Network.
Jennifer Swanchara is the volleyball show host for Bump, Set, Spike.
Photo: Jennifer Swanchara