No. 23 Ohio State Opens 2013 Season at NIU Invitational
Aug 28, 2013
Teams: No. 23 Ohio State, Liberty, Green Bay, Northern Illinois
Friday, August 30
Ohio State vs. Liberty - 6 p.m.
Northern Illinois vs. Green Bay - 8 p.m.
Saturday, August 31
Green Bay vs. Ohio State - 1 p.m.
Northern Illinois vs. Liberty - 3 p.m.
Liberty vs. Green Bay - 6 p.m.
Northern Illinois vs. Ohio State - 8 p.m.
2013 OHIO STATE BUCKEYES
Joining the trio are four juniors in Anna Faul, Erin Sekinger, Taylor Sherwin and Alyssa Winner. Faul became one of the team's top blockers throughout the heart of last season and finished with a team-best .98 blocking average. Sherwin has a wealth of experience at setter and Sekinger will be competing for a starting spot at outside hitter. Winner has been consistent in both back row defense and serving for the Buckeyes.
Sophomores Andrea Kacsits and Katie Mitchell return following successful freshmen campaigns. Kacsits started 24 matches last season at middle blocker, while Mitchell saw playing time in 17 matches at outside hitter.
IN THE POLLS
Ohio State will face eight teams this season ranked in the poll - Penn State (2), Minnesota (6), Michigan (7), Nebraska (10), Michigan State (14), Purdue (16), Florida State (18) and Western Kentucky (21).
The squad also earned votes in the preseason poll released by Volleyball Magazine.
CLASS OF 2017
Sandbothe, a 6-2 middle blocker from Lee's Summit, Mo., was named to the Under Armour All-American second team and ranked No. 25 on PrepVolleyball.com's Senior Aces list. Randall hails from Tomball, Texas, and the 6-2 outside hitter was listed No. 27 on Senior Aces. The pair was also honored on PrepVolleyball.com's Fab 50 list earlier this year.
Heim is a 6-0 setter from Omaha and a 2012 Nebraska Gatorade Player of the Year finalist with natural leadership. León is a 5-6 defensive specialist from Ponce, Puerto Rico, and has been a member of a handful of Puerto Rican national teams, including the 2013 Puerto Rico Youth National Team.
The Buckeyes concluded the year ranked No. 22 in the final AVCA Coaches' poll after earning its fourth-straight selection to the NCAA Tournament. The team advanced to the second round of the national tournament before falling at Kentucky in four sets.
Then-senior Mari Hole had an outstanding season for Ohio State and was awarded AVCA All-America third team honors for her efforts. She was also named to the AVCA All-Mideast Region team and was a unanimous All-Big Ten selection.
The squad said good bye to four seniors at the end of the season. Hole concluded her two seasons as one of the program's top hitters, finishing third in kills per set. Emily Danks, a 2012 AVCA All-Mideast Region and All-Big Ten honorable mention selection, finished her career as Ohio State's leader in career aces with 230 overall. Setter Amanda Peterson and middle blocker Mariah Booth finished their careers among the programs top 20 in assists and blocks, respectively.
The U.S. Senior A2 contingent was divided into four equal teams before entering pool play. After being chosen to rep Team White, Leary found herself in position to compete with some familiar faces; most notably former Minnesota head coach Mike Hebert. A total of five Big Ten players were selected to play for Hebert.
Putting Big Ten rivalries aside, Leary and her teammates from Team White advanced to the championship match of the WNTA2 Tournament to take on Team Gold. Played at the Dallas Convention Center, Team White took down Team Gold 24-26, 25-12, 25-23, 25-21. In the match, Leary contributed seven points on seven kills.
The Flames are returning four seniors in middle blocker Kendle Rollins, setter Jade Craycraft, outside hitter Lillie Happel and libero Becca Haraf. Happel finished third on the team with 253 kills last season, while Rollins had 123 blocks (12s, 111a). Craycraft led the team with a 9.60 assists average.
This will be the first match between the Buckeyes and the Flames since 2000.
SCOUTING GREEN BAY
The Phoenix, under first-year head coach Michaela Franklin, returns five seniors from 2012. Senior Monica Anderson finished second on the squad last year with 297 kills and a 2.72 average, while senior setter Leah Poel finished with a team-best 10.18 assists per set.
Saturday's meeting will be the first between the Buckeyes and the Phoenix.
SCOUTING NORTHERN ILLINOIS
The Huskies return eight from last year's squad. Leading the way is sophomore setter Alexis Gonzalez, junior outside hitter MacKenzie Roddy and senior middle blocker Sarah Angelos. Gonzalez led the team with a 10.27 assists average, while Roddy came in second with 446 kills on the season. Angelos was an All-MAC first team selection after 341 kills and 100 blocks on the year.
The Buckeyes hold an 8-2 record over the Huskies and came away with a 3-0 (30-17, 30-23, 30-16) win in the last meeting at the 2006 Buckeye Invitational.