IU pulled off another upset this weekend when it defeated No. 22 Ohio State in four sets, 25-22, 25-23, 17-25, 25-23, Saturday night in Bloomington. It was IU’s second upset victory in its last two home matches. The Hoosiers had not recorded a win against a ranked opponent in any prior match this season.
The match was also the first time in the last 10 meetings between the two Big Ten teams that IU has come out on top. The Hoosiers’ last victory against the Buckeyes came Oct. 8, 2010.
“It’s really inspiring,” freshman middle blocker Deyshia Lofton said. “We want to eventually make it to the NCAA Tournament, and this is another win that we can put toward that goal. We are pretty confident because we know that this is the level that we can play at, and I don’t think there’s a limit. We are breaking through ceilings left and right, and we just have to keep going and keep pushing ourselves.”
Senior outside hitter Allison Hammond spoke Thursday about IU’s increased effort to be aggressive, and it paid dividends once again for the Hoosiers.
For the third consecutive match, senior middle blocker Jazzmine McDonald stuffed the stat sheet. The senior tallied 13 kills on a .667 hitting percentage and four blocks. Fellow middle blocker Lofton added 11 kills and three blocks.
“We’ve gotten to another level,” Lofton said, referencing the recent success of IU’s middle blockers. “The connection is definitely better with the setters and everyone is meshing together so well as a team. Our practices are more intense, we are doing more quality work, and we are pushing ourselves.”
IU, the second-best serving team in the Big Ten, out-served Ohio State, the third-best serving team in the conference, with five service aces compared to two for the visiting Buckeyes. Hammond led both teams with three aces for the Hoosiers.
IU Coach Sherry Dunbar-Kruzan was right to be wary of 2015 first-team All-American Taylor Sandbothe. The senior middle blocker was responsible for 21 points on 18 kills, five blocks and a .483 hitting percentage for the Buckeyes, 15-11, 5-9 in conference.
Buckeye sophomore outside hitter Audra Appold performed well too, providing 19 kills and four blocks in Ohio State’s losing effort.
“That team is hard to play,” Dunbar-Kruzan said. “They run a lot of different offensive systems compared to other teams we play, and it gets a little chaotic at times. I called time out a few times and told the team to stay neutral, to trust their athleticism, to have good eyes and to not guess. I was happy that we could figure that out as the match went along.”
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