Minnesota coach Jerry Kill and his training staff have been accused of mistreatment by Gophers wide receiver A.J. Barker, who suffered an ankle injury October 27 and quit the team.Barker alleges that Kill confronted him at a recent practice and asked how he planned to tackle his rehab for his ankle injury. He also accuses the Gopher’s training staff of not immediately telling him that he had a high ankle sprain before attempting to return to the field Nov.5 against Michigan.Barker was the leading receiver for the Gophers with 30 catches for 577 yards and seven touchdowns after walking on the team. He made his intentions known through Twitter.“Well, its official. I am done playing football for the University of Minnesota and I will be looking to transfer next season for my final yr,” he wrote.Following the message he added a link for his Twitter followers to read a lengthy message posted on Tumblr entitled: “My letter to Jerry Kill, why I quit.”Barker wrote, “Thank you for showing me your true colors; that you will stop at nothing to prove you have control over me. … In light of that pathetic, manipulative display of rage and love you put on this past Thursday, I have come to the decision, with the guidance of my parents and my closest friends, that my time on this team has come to an end.”Barker said it was a difficult decision, but he had to protect himself. Meanwhile, Kill is not the only coach facing accusations by Barker. Tight ends coach Rob Reeves allegedly called Barker a slur because Baker is an atheist.The school is investing into both allegations and it issued a statement Sunday night.“Coach Kill received an email from A.J. Barker today notifying the Coach that he has quit the team,” the statement said. “Coach Kill tried reaching out to A.J. after receiving the email, but was unable to connect with him. We understand A.J.’s frustration with his injury, and we regret that he has chosen to leave the team on these terms. Our concern first and foremost is student athletes and we wish A.J. well.”Barker has one year of eligibility left and does not have to sit out wherever he chooses to transfer to continue to collegiate football career.
While Saturday’s top-billed matchups (specifically, Arizona-Ohio State and Kentucky-Cincinnati) looked sexier on paper than any in store on Sunday, day No. 2 of the round of 32 offers some solid games of its own — as well as fewer sleepers. Keep a particular eye on the trio of 2-versus-7 matchups, each of which should be reasonably competitive by the standards of this round.Here’s what else to look for:South RegionalGame to watch: No. 1 Duke vs. No. 8 San Diego State (a harmonic mean of 88.0) at 2:40 p.m. EDT on CBSUpset alert! No. 7 Iowa (27 percent win probability) vs. No. 2 Gonzaga at 7:10 p.m. EDT on TBSIN DEPTHDuke (85 percent win probability) vs. San Diego StatePlayer to watch: Jahlil Okafor, DukeAfter taking care of Robert Morris with ease in its opener, Duke moves on to face the slow-paced, defensively focused Aztecs. San Diego State has a tall team that ranks among the nation’s best at limiting opponents’ shooting efficiency and keeping them from getting to the line. But watch for Duke’s offensive rebounding (spearheaded by All-Everything center Jahlil Okafor) to offset some of SDSU’s defensive advantage. And when the Aztecs have the ball, scoring might be an ordeal. Neither of San Diego State’s two go-to guys on offense — Winston Shepard and Dwayne Polee — could even match the Division I average for efficiency when they ended an Aztec possession, a trend that figures to continue against a solid Blue Devils defense. Midwest RegionalIN BRIEFGame to watch: No. 2 Kansas vs. No. 7 Wichita State (87.6) at 5:15 p.m. EDT on CBSUpset alert! No. 5 West Virginia (55 percent) vs. No. 4 Maryland at 8:40 p.m. EDT on TNTIN DEPTHKansas (57 percent) vs. Wichita StatePlayer to watch: Fred VanVleet, Wichita StateWichita State’s offense clicked in the second half of its victory over Indiana on Friday, but the points may not come as easily against a strong Kansas defense that ranks ninth nationally in Ken Pomeroy’s schedule-adjusted ratings. The game may come down to whether Wichita State can execute its pick-and-roll — according to Synergy Sports, the Shockers’ pick-and-roll ball-handling efficiency ranked in the 93rd percentile of Division I schools; the Jayhawks’ defense was in the 85th percentile at stopping the play. At the other end, it’s worth watching whether the more interior-focused Kansas offense can adapt to take advantage of a Wichita State defense that dares opponents to move the ball around and shoot from the outside. West RegionalIN BRIEFGame to watch: No. 1 Wisconsin vs. No. 8 Oregon (87.3) at 7:45 p.m. EDT on TruTVIN DEPTHWisconsin (87 percent) vs. OregonPlayer to watch: Frank Kaminsky, WisconsinOregon’s offense — far and away the strength of the team — came to the rescue against Oklahoma State in the round of 64 as the Ducks shot 55 percent from the floor to outgun the Cowboys in a 79-73 win. But securing enough stops to beat Wisconsin might be a struggle for the defensively challenged Ducks. According to Ken Pomeroy’s ratings, Wisconsin easily owns the best offense in the country, a unit primed to take advantage of Oregon’s weak shot defense and inability to force turnovers. The Ducks also lack the risky traits that sometimes help heavy underdogs chance their way into upsets. But one path the Ducks might navigate to victory is to force the tempo and make the Badgers play at their pace. Oregon had the 33rd-fastest offense in the country this season (as measured by seconds per possession), while Wisconsin had the third-slowest. East RegionalIN BRIEFGame to watch: No. 2 Virginia vs. No. 7 Michigan State (89.5) at 12:10 p.m. EDT on CBSUpset alert! No. 5 Northern Iowa (55 percent) vs. No. 4 Louisville at 9:40 p.m. EDT on TBSIN DEPTHVirginia (72 percent) vs. Michigan StatePlayer to watch: Anthony Gill, VirginiaVirginia didn’t exactly look dominant against a stubborn Belmont team Friday, and now the Cavaliers must face an even tougher opponent in Michigan State. The Spartans have the talent to stick with Virginia — they’d have a 37 percent chance of the upset here if we based our prediction on preseason ratings alone — and their coach is familiar with deep tournament runs. Plus, Virginia operates its offense at a veritable crawl, slowing down the game and inviting the kind of variance that can prove deadly for a favorite. But other than their snail-like pace, the Cavaliers play a sturdy style as upset-proof as any, relying primarily on two-point shooting, ball security, rebounding, and an old-fashioned big, tough interior defense. It all makes for a team with few clear weaknesses, something Michigan State will likely learn the hard way.Check out FiveThirtyEight’s March Madness predictions.
Coach Urban Meyer stands in front of the team before the Buckeyes take the field against Rutgers on Oct. 1. The Buckeyes won 58-0. Credit: Mason Swires | Assistant Photo EditorOhio State was left out of the top tier of four teams reserved for playoff-bound teams, according to an initial College Football Playoff poll released Tuesday at 7 p.m. The move was predictable by the playoff committee that made the selections after a string of rough games for No. 6 ranked OSU.The top spots belong to Alabama, Clemson, Michigan and Washington, in that order. The Buckeyes will be facing Michigan later this season in a matchup that could potentially decide the fate of each team’s chance of reaching the playoffs. OSU redshirt junior quarterback J.T. Barrett said on Monday before the release of the rankings the spot the Buckeyes are in holds no merit to him.“I don’t care about it too much being that there is still a lot of football left to play,” he said.The committee for 2016 is comprised of an array of members, including long-time Wisconsin head coach and current director of athletics Barry Alvarez and former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. While the selections show who the committee feels are the best teams in the nation, the poll will be updated throughout the next few weeks until the end of the regular season. The next playoff rankings will be released next Tuesday at 7 p.m.OSU coach Urban Meyer said he agrees with Barrett on Monday, and would be doing his best to stay away from the polls, even though they set a precedent for the rest of the season. He might be able to stay away, barring any interference from those close to him.“Oh, it’s important. Not for us. It’s important,” Meyer said. “I won’t look at it. I’m sure people will tell me about it, including my person of 27 years of marriage will tell me about it when I get home.”
When Rich Rodriguez first arrived on campus in December 2007, the Michigan football program had plenty of reason for optimism. The Wolverines were coming off a bowl win over the Florida Gators and welcoming in a coach who had amassed a 60-26 record in his seven years at West Virginia. In the last two-plus years, that optimism has turned to impatience. Expectations are high in Ann Arbor, Mich. In 13 years under Rodriguez’s predecessor, Lloyd Carr, the Wolverines were 122-40, never missing a bowl game. Their worst season under Carr was 7-5, and they never won fewer than five conference games in a season. In his third year, Rodriguez has yet to reach the five-win plateau. He has a 15-20 record heading into Saturday’s season finale, committed NCAA violations and failed to guide his team to a winning record until this season. “When I took the job, I thought about building the best program in America,” Rodriguez said Monday during his weekly press conference. The Wolverines have taken a step in the right direction in 2010. At 7-4, Michigan is bowl-eligible for the first time in Rodriguez’s tenure. Ohio State coach Jim Tressel said he has been impressed by Rodriguez’s work. “I think, just from a universal standpoint, there’s always unrest if you don’t win every game at this level,” Tressel said. “Secondly, the thing that is impressive to me is that I’ve watched them for three years and I haven’t seen them blink. I mean, they have gone out and they’ve played every game to the end, and that means something good is going on.” Nonetheless, at just 6-17 in Big Ten play, Wolverine fans are becoming weary. Some see Saturday’s contest as a litmus test for the Michigan headman, but Wolverine players don’t see it that way. “I don’t think about that really,” senior offensive lineman Stephen Schilling said. “I think we’ve shown progression the last three years under coach Rod and no, I don’t think that way.” OSU captain Bryant Browning said the Buckeyes will not look at the game like that from the opposite sideline either. “That’s not something that we try to think about. We know that he is going to have his team ready to go and try to get his first win in the rivalry,” Browning said. “That is something that he has on his team’s mind to stay focused on, and I know the players and their seniors and everyone at the university is going to be fired up for it.” Although Michigan sophomore defensive end Craig Roh said they are not playing as if their coach’s job is on the line, he did say, “It would be a great win for Rich Rod.” Amid the uncertainty, Rodriguez remains for now, and his players wouldn’t have it any other way. “I love Rich Rod as a coach,” Roh said. “He’s just a tough-working guy and through all that he’s been in he’s kept such a positive attitude. He’s really affected me and a lot of other guys with the way he comes in and just kind of emits positivity.” But the players aren’t the ones who sign his paycheck. With a big test ahead for the Wolverines and his job security in limbo, Rodriguez might be undergoing an employee performance evaluation Saturday in the Horseshoe.
Never in the history of Ohio State has the university had the distinction of having both the men’s and women’s golf teams have a freshman win Big Ten Freshman of the Year honors in the same season. Until now. The Big Ten handed out their annual golf awards May 1, and among them were Kendall Prince and Grant Weaver, winning for women’s and men’s golf, respectively. Weaver is only the second freshman men’s golfer in OSU history to win the award, the first time going to Chris Smith in 1988. Prince shares the honor with six other Buckeyes, the last being teammate Vicky Villanueva, who won in 2009. “It’s a pretty big honor,” Prince said. Making it even more special, she said, was getting the award despite the “up-and-down roller coaster of health issues” she’s had this year. Prince found out she has an autoimmune disorder affecting her liver that at least once led to her being rushed to the hospital. But with consultation from her doctors, she was able to recover and again focus on golf. “She’s a real tough kid, no doubt about it,” said women’s coach Therese Hession. “She’s very driven … so there’s not going to be too much that gets in her way. She’ll come back as quick as possible from all these illnesses and injuries … more than most kids because she’s very committed to making her goals.” Compounded on top of her autoimmune disorder, she had emergency surgery on her appendix the day before the Big Ten Championship. That came two weeks ago after finishing a career-best third overall in the field in the Lady Buckeye Spring Invitational. Due to missing the Big Ten Championship, Hession said it dropped her one-tenth of a point from making first-team All-Big Ten. The appendectomy is also keeping her from playing in the first three rounds of the NCAA Central Regionals taking place Thursday through Saturday in Columbus. Despite all of the setbacks, Prince still made second-team All-Big Ten along with being named Freshman of the Year. She was the top finisher on the team three times, tying junior Amy Meier a fourth time. She averaged a 75 (per 18 holes) for the year, was under par four times and shot in the 60’s twice, including a career-best 67. That score came on her second set of 18 holes, where she played a total of 36 holes in one day during the Lady Northern Invitational in French Lick, Ind. She said it’s hard to imagine that at one point, she preferred soccer over golf. “I was huge into other sports,” Prince said. “I always thought I was going to play soccer (in college) until my sophomore year (in high school), and I switched my focus (to golf).” And when she committed to OSU, there was one thing on her mind. “Once I came in here, I was like, ‘That’s my goal, to be Big Ten Freshman of the Year,” she said. Although feeling honored for his achievement, Weaver said he didn’t even know the award existed until men’s coach Donnie Darr told him on the day the awards were announced. “I never really thought about it. It came as a complete surprise,” Weaver said. That might sound flippant, but it’s quite the opposite for the true freshman from Waynedale High School in Wooster, Ohio. He said his focus is more about teamwork rather than concentrating on how well he performs individually, attributing his humble attitude to his parents. “They always told me not to be conceited,” Weaver said. “Also, I played team golf in high school, so I’ve had the joys of winning as a team and it’s something that I want to continue and experience again. It’s a lot more fun when you’re playing as a team.” Weaver’s humility comes as no surprise to Darr. “He’s very, very mature for his age (and) controls his emotions very well, which is a huge asset for a college player, because a lot of college guys struggle with that part of their game,” Darr said. Weaver has helped the men’s team to a 67-49-2 record this year and an appearance in the NCAA regionals May 17-19 in Ann Arbor, Mich. He averaged a score of 75 (per 18 holes) for the season, including a career-best 69 on the first day of the FAU Spring Break Championship on March 23 in Lake Worth, Fla. Despite playing in junior golf tournaments since he was nine years old, Weaver said he never had a full-time instructor, just occasional lessons “here and there.” And he still wouldn’t give himself full credit for what he’s achieved this year. “I think that if he just continues to do what he has done and continues to work on the fundamental things … then he’s going to have great success,” Darr said.
For her recently concluded record-setting week for the Ohio State women’s soccer program, senior forward Tiffany Cameron has been named the Big Ten Conference’s Offensive Player of the Week. Cameron posted a four-goal week in games against then-No. 17 Michigan and Michigan State, scoring two goals in each game. Two goals in a 3-1 upset win against the Wolverines on Thursday allowed Cameron to set the program’s single-season record. During her final regular season home game donning Scarlet and Gray, Cameron scored two more goals to extend her single-season scoring record to 16 and pull into a tie for most career goals with 35. Cameron, a Canadian international player, tied former Buckeyes Lara Dickenmann and Lisa Grubb for OSU’s career-goals record with her second tally in the 3-1 win against the Spartans. Cameron will have an opportunity to break the career-goals record in the Buckeyes’ final regular season game at Indiana, but will have her work cut out for her as the Hoosiers defense has posted six shutouts this season. The game against the Hoosiers (9-8-1, 4-6-0 Big Ten) kicks off Friday at 7 p.m in Bloomington, Ind.
OSU coach Urban Meyer looks out to the field before the Spring Game on April 15. Credit: Alexa Mavrogianis | Photo EditorOn April 27, Ohio State will watch its top cornerbacks from the 2016 season, Marshon Lattimore and Gareon Conley, learn their NFL destinations in the first round of the NFL draft. But the task of replacing those corners was set in motion when the season ended.The team has lost its top pair of corners, but cornerbacks coach Kerry Coombs said the position has the most depth he’s seen since his arrival at OSU in 2012.“I’m extremely excited about the totality of the room,” Coombs said Wednesday.He added that he is not sure exactly who will play. Junior Denzel Ward and redshirt sophomores Kendall Sheffield and Damon Arnette are all in the mix, as are sophomore Rodjay Burns and freshmen Shaun Wade, Jeffrey Okudah, Marcus Williamson and Amir Riep.Defensive coordinator Greg Schiano said he is unsure of how the younger corners will perform, and that while the team knows what to expect from of Sheffield, Ward and Arnette, there is an element of mystery with some of the younger players.“There’s so many responses that we don’t know yet, because they haven’t been in that position with us,” Schiano said. “How will they respond when they get beat for a touchdown? How will they respond when they have an issue in class or an off-the-field issue that distracts them? Will they be able to come out here and block it out? Those are all things you learn about newcomers that we have to wait and see.”The perk of having such depth at the position is that there does not always have to be a bonafide set of starters downfield. Last season, though Lattimore and Conley were deemed the starters, Ward frequently rotated in with the pair and, in the end, received nearly the same number of snaps as the two future first-round corners. Arnette, though he participated in fewer snaps compared with the other three, also found himself in on the action for much of the season.The strategy of rotating the corners to keep all of them fresh for nearly the whole game proved successful. But Schiano said there is no guarantee the defense will use that same game plan next time, though he and the rest of the coaching staff would like to try it out.“I could see that happening again this year, but it really depends on the development of our corners and how they do,” Schiano said. “We’re very, very hopeful between our incoming guys, between our guys who were here, that we will be able to have that rotation at the corner spot.”One important piece to the cornerback puzzle will be the development of Sheffield, who was rated as the No. 1 junior college cornerback transfer by ESPN before landing at OSU, and was considered a five-star prospect before enrolling at Alabama and later Blinn Community College.Sheffield was highly sought after by OSU out of high school, Coombs said, and that once Sheffield decided he was going to transfer from community college, the coaching staff knew they were going to push hard to add him to the team.“As soon as I found out that he was becoming available again — I can’t remember exactly how, if it was internet or whatever – I reached out immediately,” Coombs said. “I began the process of recruiting him at Blinn right away really hard, and thankfully, he chose to become a Buckeye.”The oldest of the newcomers, Sheffield brings in an element of experience that many of the younger cornerbacks lack. As a junior college transfer, he had time playing in game situations, and Schiano said the key for him will just be to get the hang of things the more he participates.Freshmen might be counted on quite a bit in the defensive backfield in 2017 with no one player really standing above the rest of the pack.If those four incoming freshman are going to find success, they will not only need to familiarize themselves with OSU’s defensive style, but also work on making the transition from pure athletes to specialists at their respective positions.“In high school, you can get away with just being a great athlete. You can do it the way you’re coached, or maybe you can do it another way and still get away with it,” Schiano said. “Here, the people they’re going against are so good that if they don’t do it exactly the way they’re instructed, it’s hard to be successful.”
Ohio State head coach Chris Holtmann is 114-85 as a head coach, including four consecutive 20-win seasons. Credit: Courtesy of TNSChris Holtmann, who spent the last three years as Butler’s coach, has agreed to an eight-year deal to be Ohio State men’s basketball’s next head coach following Thad Matta’s firing Monday. The deal is worth around $3 million annually, according to the press release.In just four seasons, Holtmann has gone from head coach at Gardner-Webb in the Big South to Butler in the Big East and now OSU in the Big Ten. Holtmann, 45, is the 14th head coach in program history and has a pedigree of helping programs achieve postseason success in a short amount of time while keeping his foot on the gas on the recruiting trail.Coaching successHoltmann’s coaching career began at his alma mater, Taylor University, in Upland, Indiana — a town of 3,845 people, according to the 2010 U.S. Census. He served one season as a graduate assistant, went to Geneva College as an assistant coach for one season, then returned to Taylor as an assistant coach for four seasons.The Trojans were 50-16 and won two conference championships in Holtmann’s final two years before he left for his first Division I coaching job at Gardner-Webb. He spent five years as an assistant coach and associate head coach before his teammate at Taylor, John Groce, gave him a call to join his staff in 2008 at Ohio University.In his second year, Holtmann assisted Groce in leading the Bobcats to their first Mid-American Conference tournament title in five seasons and a first-round upset of Georgetown in the NCAA Tournament as a No. 14 seed in 2010. “Chris was a huge part of that (tournament run). It was just a great hire,” Groce, current Akron head coach, told The Lantern in a phone interview Friday. “I already knew who he was as a person and that certainly played into my decision to hire him when I was at Ohio. I knew that he was going to be loyal, humble, hard-working and anything you would want from a character perspective.”That ended up being Holtmann’s final season on Groce’s staff as he left for the Gardner-Webb head coaching position following that tournament appearance. From that point forward, Holtmann has had unprecedented success leading up to his hire on Friday.Despite a below-.500 record in three years as head coach at Gardner Webb (44-54), the Runnin’ Bulldogs won 21 games and made their first Division-I postseason tournament in the 2012-13 season — Holtmann’s final year before darting to Butler.Holtmann was an assistant for Brandon Miller’s 2013-14 Butler squad that went 14-17. The next season, Holtmann took over as interim head coach when Miller took a medical leave of absence. The interim tag was removed in January 2015 and he led the Bulldogs to a surprising 23-11 record and a second-place finish in the Big East. The next two seasons, Holtmann was 47-20 with a berth in the Sweet 16 in 2017.Groce said the rise in Holtmann’s career isn’t surprising given Holtmann’s character.“As we worked together for two years, it became very obvious to me how good he was professionally … whether it was coaching, developing players, recruiting, how organized he was, work ethic, et cetera,” Groce said.“I wanted (my assistant coaches) to grow. I wanted them to get better and improve and move forward in the profession. That’s a big reason why I’m so excited for what Chris has done. What he did at Butler, what he did at Gardner-Webb as a head coach, I think through all that he’s maintained who he is as a person.”RecruitingOSU Athletics Director Gene Smith made it clear during Monday’s press conference where he fired coach Thad Matta that the next head coach at OSU would have to be an excellent recruiter in the Midwest.It appears he found that.“He’s connected, there’s no question,” Groce said. “He has experience in (Ohio and Indiana) which will be beneficial to what they need to get done from a recruiting perspective, but Chris has an ability to develop relationships regardless of location. I think one of his strengths is that he’s well-rounded and one of those areas that’s a strong suit for him is the recruiting piece.”In his first season as head coach at Butler, he recruited Tyler Lewis, Kelan Martin and Tyler Wideman who all started for Butler’s Sweet 16 team this past season. He also has taken three players from the state of Ohio, including 2017 OSU target Kyle Young from Massillon Jackson.In OSU’s press release, Smith explicitly said Holtmann had great Midwestern recruiting ties, as evidenced by nine players who have committed to Butler from Kentucky, Indiana or Ohio since the 2014 class.What makes his ties more important is the deep 2018 and 2019 recruiting classes in Ohio. Dane Goodwin is the lone commitment since Matta’s Monday exit, but the other five top-six recruits in Ohio for 2018 could turn the entire OSU program around. Pete Nance, Dwayne Cohill, Darius Bazley, Jerome Hunter and Justin Ahrens all hold offers OSU. Ahrens and Bazley were once committed to the program.In 2019, local products Jordan Mitchell and Jeremiah Francis are the top two players in the state, according to 247Sports, and already hold OSU offers.Giant KillerBlue-blood programs such as North Carolina, Kentucky, Arizona and Villanova largely define college basketball. Holtmann has defeated all four of those schools. He defeated defending national champion Villanova twice in 2016-17.Holtmann was an assistant at Gardner-Webb when it defeated Kentucky in 2007.The past three seasons, OSU has won a single game against an Associated Press Top-25 team outside of Columbus. OSU was 3-13 against Top 25 teams in the past two seasons and has lost by double-digits in nine of its last 18 road conference games.Holtmann was 13-10 in games against Top 25 opponents in three seasons at Butler.Jacob Myers: email@example.com and Twitter @Jacob_Myers_25
Then-freshman defensive specialist Hannah Gruensfelder (7) makes a dig for the ball at the Ohio State women’s volleyball game against Michigan atSt. John’s Arena in Columbus, Ohio on Oct. 22. The Buckeyes lost the match 3-1. Credit: Maggie Jones | For The LanternAfter back-to-back matches on Friday and Saturday, the Ohio State women’s volleyball team ended the weekend with a win against Rutgers and a loss to Penn State. On Friday the Buckeyes dug their way out of a 2-1 deficit and beat Rutgers in five sets (18-25, 25-19, 23-25, 25-18, 15-9), and the Scarlet Knights dropped to 6-12 and 0-5 within the conference. The Buckeyes had strong offense against the Scarlet Knights. Sophomore middle blocker Lauren Witte and freshman outside hitter Adria Powell both struck 17 kills, which was a career high for Powell. Freshman opposite hitter Vanja Bukilic had 13. Junior outside hitter Ana Beatriz Franklin led the team with 11 kills the next night against Penn State. Rutgers boasted its defense with 13 total team blocks compared to Ohio State with seven. Witte and Rutgers freshman middle blocker Merle Weidt each led their respective teams with 19 points.Sophomore defensive specialist Hannah Gruensfelder tallied a match-best 14 digs, followed by Franklin with 13. Freshman defensive specialist Camryn Moeller dug a career-high nine balls.The Buckeyes fell to No. 9 Penn State on Saturday at University Park in three straight sets (25-13, 25-22, 25-22), following their win against the Nittany Lions at home two weeks ago. Following the match, the Buckeyes stand at 11-7 and 2-4 Big Ten, and the Nittany Lions at 13-3 and 4-2. Redshirt sophomore middle blocker Jordan Fry succeeded in nine of 15 error-free swings for a career-high .600 hitting percentage.Ohio State doubled Penn State in service errors 10-5.Penn State freshman defensive specialist Jenna Hampton put out four service aces, more than the Buckeyes had altogether. Redshirt senior outside hitter Nia Reed led both teams in kills with 15.The Buckeyes will return home to St. John Arena to host Michigan on Oct. 12 and Michigan State on Oct. 14.
Ohio State senior forward Dakota Joshua (8) takes a shot against Minnesota on Feb. 15. Ohio State lost 4-3. Credit: Nick Hudak | For The LanternThe No. 2 Ohio State men’s hockey team (19-6-4, 12-4-3 Big Ten) saw its seven-game winning streak ended after Minnesota (12-14-4, 9-9-3 Big Ten) pulled out the 4-3 victory.Minnesota was consistently ahead of Ohio State throughout the match: every time Ohio State came within striking distance, the Golden Gophers countered to maintain the lead.The Buckeyes had a rough time going up against Minnesota in the beginning, but eventually found their stride in the third period where almost all of the action of the night took place. Junior forward Ronnie Hein said the team struggled to find momentum after going down early.“We know we’re a great hockey team and we’ve come from behind before,” Hein said. “Even when we were down one we weren’t worried about it. I thought we were actually playing pretty well before they had that first goal and then we shut down after that.”This weekend matchup against Minnesota was particularly special with it being Military Appreciation Weekend. To honor this, the Buckeyes wore jackets honoring United States troops and an induction ceremony for new Air Force members occurred in between the first and second period.“I think it’s pretty obvious,” head coach Steve Rohlik said. “We’re pretty thankful to be able to do what we do because of what they do.”Both teams began to pour on the points during the third period. It began when Minnesota junior defenseman Ryan Zuhlsdorf scored Minnesota’s third point midway through the period. Ohio State responded with a goal of their own only minutes later when junior forward Sam McCormick scored his first goal of the season, making the score 3-2. This was followed by a quick retaliation from Minnesota when sophomore forward Scott Reedy netted the Golden Gophers their fourth goal of the night. With only 3:35 left on the clock, freshman forward Quinn Preston cut the deficit to one when he sent a puck straight into the Golden Gophers’ net, bringing the game to 4-3.The Buckeyes pulled their goalie in the last remaining 30 seconds of the game but were unable to even the score, ending their seven-game win streak.Both teams played more aggressively in the second period than in the first. Midway through the period, Minnesota’s freshman forward Nathan Burke managed to advance its lead to 2-0. With 15.5 seconds left on the clock, Ohio State shortened the Golden Gophers’ lead when senior forward John Wiitala, assisted by junior defenseman Gordi Myer and junior forward Carson Meyer shot a puck straight past their defense, netting the Buckeyes their first point of the game.Ohio State only managed three shots on goal in the second period.The first period was relatively uneventful, with the only major highlight being Minnesota’s senior defenseman Jack Sadek putting the first goal on the scoreboard with 3:16 to go in the period. While Ohio State led in shots 7-5, Minnesota ended the period leading in points 1-0.“Probably playing our worst first two periods of the year,” Rohlik said. “That’s a start. We got our second shot-on-net in the second period right at the end when we scored the goal with 15 seconds to go.”No. 2 Ohio State plays Minnesota for a rematch in the Schottenstein Center at 6 p.m. Saturday.