The No. 3-seeded Ohio State women’s volleyball team has lost four games in a row and on Friday meets a team from Tennessee State that has won its last seven and won the Ohio Valley Conference Tournament 3-2 in all three rounds .
The Buckeyes (19-9, 15-5 Big Ten) lost a 14-game winning streak after losing their last two weekend series. Despite the recent drought, senior wingers Jenaiysa Moore and Adria Powell said they have confidence in their team.
“Our goal is different now, and everyone else wants the same goal, so everyone’s going to go twice as hard,” Moore said. “It just depends on how we come together.”
The Buckeyes hit .233 and .173 in the last two sets, improving from .122 in the first and under .000 in the second against No. 3 Wisconsin Saturday. Moore and Powell together for 10 kills.
Earlier in the postseason, Powell said she believes the Buckeyes started to find their groove back in the final sets last weekend.
“There were a lot of moments in the game when we were playing buckeye volleyball,” Powell said. “It was a good game that led into the tournament because we got our style of play and courage back.”
Powell said the last game against the Badgers, who earned a No. 1 finish, was a challenge, but good moments were taken away from him.
Moore said it helped get their confidence back and they won’t focus on what their most recent game was, noting their philosophy for the year was to move on to the next point.
“We just trust each other, lean on each other, and trust that at the end of the day we’re going to do our job,” Moore said.
Tigers senior outside hitter Johanna Alcantara leads Tennessee State (19-15, 10-8 Ohio Valley) offensively with an average of 3.8 kills per set.
As a team, Ohio State’s offense averages 14.12 kills per set while allowing 12.22. In comparison, the state of Tennessee averages 12.44 kills per set and allows 11.84.
Powell said there’s a lot of confidence that comes from the Buckeyes’ Big Ten-leading defense, which averages 15.89 digs per set.
“I don’t think it’s going to be a big problem,” Powell said. “We talked about the pins, being aggressive and trying.”
Moore said the team is excited to host the opening rounds of the tournament but is prepared for tough road environments.
Ohio State can host its first two games of the tournament if it wins the first game against Tennessee State. The Buckeyes will be away for the remainder of the season, but they are familiar with being on the road after playing at home against then-No. 10 straight road matchups following the opening of the year. 2 Texas.
“We created our own atmosphere early in the season,” Moore said. “We were really locked together because we knew everyone else was against us.”
The winner of the game between the states of Ohio and Tennessee will play the winner of the game between USC and High Point University at 6 p.m. Saturday at the Covelli Center
Moore said Ohio State must have an underdog mentality to be successful in the tournament. She said if you go to a gym thinking the opposite, it will hurt the team’s performance.
“I’m really excited to see how far we get – and hopefully win a natty,” said Moore.
The Buckeyes begin their NCAA tournament run Friday at 7:30 p.m. against Tennessee State. ESPN+ broadcasts.