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Monday, April 15
The Indiana Daily Student

sports volleyball

Hoosiers suffer 2 defeats over weekend

The IU volleyball team’s road trip ended with two more disappointing losses.

The Hoosiers (14-10, 3-7) fell to No. 1 Penn State (22-0, 10-0) in straight sets Friday and suffered its third straight defeat at the hands of Ohio State (17-6, 5-5) on Saturday.

“The biggest thing is that we have to stay together, as a team and as a program,” IU coach Sherry Dunbar said. “We have to really look at our character ... to get back in this race.”

IU began the weekend as the victim in two-time defending national champion Penn State’s 85th consecutive victory. Penn State won 25-19, 25-13 and 25-17.

The Nittany Lions dominated the match in all areas. They recorded 43 kills at a collective .362 clip, dug 41 balls and controlled the net with 22 total blocks. Junior Alyssa D’Errico posted three service aces.

Senior outside hitter Kelsey Hall posted seven kills at a .385 percentage and led the Hoosiers in digs with 12.

Following Friday’s loss, IU looked to regain its swagger against an improved Ohio State team.

However, the Buckeyes’ hitting and net control prevented the Hoosiers from doing so as Ohio State won in four sets by scores of 25-19, 25-22, 23-25 and 25-23.

After winning the first set by a comfortable margin, the Buckeyes saw IU drive them right to the wire in the second frame before taking a commanding 2-0 match lead.

Graduate student and right-side hitter Whitney Thomas, who had her most productive outing of the season, recorded five kills in the second set, 11 overall.

“It was good because it was needed,” Thomas said of her performance, “but it wasn’t as great because we didn’t get the win. Definitely would’ve taken a win over that.”

Junior middle blocker Ashley Benson’s three consecutive service aces gave the Hoosiers a comfortable lead early in the third set. However, Ohio State rallied back to tie the frame at 23-23 before IU forced a fourth.

The lead in the final set changed nine times before Ohio State sealed the victory.

Junior middle blocker Taylor Wittmer, who saw her most extensive action of the Big Ten season with six kills and three total blocks, said the mental aspect of the game is key for the Hoosiers going forward.

“I think, talent-wise, we’re there,” Wittmer said. “We’re as good or better than most teams in the Big Ten, so I think we just need to work on the mental preparation part of the game.”  

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