Aug. 22, 2012
COLUMBUS, Ohio - The 42nd season of Ohio State women's volleyball begins Friday as the No. 24 Buckeyes host the annual Sports Imports DC Koehl Classic in St. John Arena, Aug. 24-25. The squad welcomes Houston, Toledo and No. 20 Oregon to Columbus for the two-day tournament.
Admission is $5 for adults and $3 for students. Ohio State students are free with a valid Buck-ID. Friday morning's match is free, but the last two matches on that day will cost and be on the same ticket. A second ticket will need to be purchased Saturday and it is good for all three matches.
SPORTS IMPORTS DC KOEHL CLASSIC
Teams: No. 24 Ohio State, No. 20 Oregon, Toledo, Houston
Friday, August 24
Toledo vs. Houston - 11:30 a.m.
Houston vs. Ohio State - 5 p.m.
Toledo vs. Oregon - 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, August 25
Toledo vs. Ohio State - 11:30 a.m.
Houston vs. Oregon - 1:30 p.m.
Oregon vs. Ohio State - 7:30 p.m.
Tournament page: go.osu.edu/12CLASSIC
In its seventh year sponsored by Sports Imports, this year's tournament is also honoring longtime SID D.C. Koehl, who passed away in January. Koehl was in his 39th year with the Department of Athletics and had been the athletics communications contact for the women's volleyball team for the last 30 years.
OHIO STATE BUCKEYES
Under the direction of fifth-year head coach Geoff Carlston, the 2012 edition of the Ohio State Buckeyes features four experienced seniors in Mariah Booth, Emily Danks, Mari Hole and Amanda Peterson. Danks and Hole are returning AVCA All-America honorable mention selections, while all four seniors were a part of Ohio State's starting rotation last season.
Joining them are three juniors in Davionna DiSalvatore, Kaitlyn Leary and Creighton transfer Julianne Mandolfo. DiSalvatore and Leary saw plenty of playing time in a majority of the team's matches last year, while Mandolfo came to Columbus as one of Creighton's top defensive specialists in 2011.
Sophomores Anna Faul, Erin Sekinger, Taylor Sherwin and Alyssa Winner all return following successful freshmen campaigns. Newcomers Jillian Bauer, Alex Heyn, Andrea Kacsits and Katie Mitchell join the squad and will fight for places in the starting lineup.
IN THE POLLS
The Buckeyes enter the season as the 24th-ranked squad in the AVCA Coaches Top 25 preseason poll. The squad is one of seven Big Ten schools ranked and the conference is the most represented league in the poll. Penn State (3), Nebraska (4), Illinois (7) and Purdue (9) are among the top 10, while Minnesota (16), Michigan (23) and Ohio State are also ranked.
The Scarlet and Gray also received votes in the Volleyball Magazine preseason poll released Tuesday.
BIG TEN PRESEASON POLL
The Ohio State women's volleyball team was chosen to finish sixth as voted by the Big Ten coaches, the league announced. The Buckeyes return five starters from last year's squad that finished seventh last season with a 9-11 conference record.
Defending Big Ten Champion Nebraska was voted as the conference favorite, while Penn State and Purdue were picked to finish second and third, respectively.
Emily Danks, a senior from Round Rock, Texas, was selected to the Preseason All-Big Ten Team. Danks enters her final year at Ohio State as a 2011 All-America honorable mention and a 2011 All-Big Ten honorable mention.
After making a run to the regional semifinals of the NCAA Division I Women's Volleyball Championships, the Ohio State women's volleyball team concluded 2011 ranked 18th in the Volleyball Magazine poll and 23rd in the AVCA Coaches' poll.
The Buckeyes finished the season with a 21-15 record, reached the Sweet Sixteen for the second-consecutive year and notched their third-straight season with 20-plus wins. The squad tallied a 9-11 record in the competitive Big Ten to finish seventh in league standings.
Mari Hole and Emily Danks were named AVCA Honorable Mention All-Americans, while Hole garnered AVCA All-Mideast Region and All-Big Ten honors. Danks was an honorable mention honoree in both categories.
The Buckeyes said good bye to two seniors at the conclusion of the season. Libero Sarah Mignin set a school record in season digs with 566 and concluded her career sixth all-time in Ohio State history with 1,262 career digs. Kelli Barhorst finished sixth in career blocks at Ohio State, tallying 403 in her career with 125 in 2011.
Houston travels to Columbus under the direction of new head coach Kaddie Platt. The Cougars, picked to finish fifth in Conference USA, return eight members from the team that posted a record of 19-11 in 2011.
The Buckeyes are 1-7 vs. Houston with Ohio State's lone win, a 3-2 victory, occurring at the two teams' last meeting in 2006.
Concluding the 2011 season with an overall mark of 10-18, the Toledo Rockets will officially open their 2012 slate in Columbus after hosting a Blue-Gold match at home last weekend.
Pacing the Rockets offensively will be the senior duo of Sondra Parys and Becca Reidy. Parys notched a team-high 283 points and 259 kills during the 2011 campaign, while Reidy was close behind with 272.5 and 246, respectively. At the net, junior Dakota Harkins will also be back after recording 71 blocks last season.
The two squads last met during Toledo's own Toledo Rocket Classic (Sept. 9) with the Buckeyes taking a 3-1 victory over the Rockets. Saturday's match marks the 11th meeting between the two squads and Ohio State leads with a 9-1 all-time series record.
The Oregon Ducks enter the season ranked No. 20 in the AVCA Coaches Top 25 preseason poll. The squad returns six starters and nine letterwinners from a 2011 campaign that ended with a 21-10 record. Among the returners is senior outside hitter Alaina Bergsma and junior setter Lauren Plum. Each were AVCA All-Americans and All-Pac-12 selections.
Having met only three time prior to the Sports Imports DC Koehl Classic, the Ducks hold a slight 2-1 edge in the series.
The Buckeyes hit the road for the first time this season, traveling to College Park, Md., for the Maryland Invitational, Aug. 31-Sept. 1. The squad plays Binghamton Friday at 5 p.m. and follows with two matches Saturday vs. Seton Hall and host Maryland.