No. 13 Buckeyes Opens B1G Season Hosting No. 10 Michigan, No. 15 Michigan State
Sept. 25, 2013
COLUMBUS, Ohio - The No. 13 Ohio State women's volleyball team kicks off the Big Ten season hosting No. 10 Michigan and No. 15 Michigan State this weekend in St. John Arena. Friday's match between the Wolverines is set for 8 p.m. ET and will be televised live on BTN. The Buckeyes and the Spartans will close out the weekend Sunday with a 2 p.m. ET match.
Ohio State's Sunday tilt against Michigan State will be streamed live on BTN.com. The broadest is schedule to re-air on BTN Wednesday, Oct. 2, at 10 a.m. ET. Please note, fans' Buckeye Vision subscription information also can be used to log on to the Big Ten Digital Network (BTDN) for Ohio State content only.
Friday, Sept. 27
No. 13 Ohio State (12-0) vs. No. 10 Michigan (10-1)
Saturday, Sept. 28
No. 13 Ohio State vs. No. 15 Michigan State (11-1 prior to Friday's match at Penn State)
SCARLET OUT SJA!
Fans are encouraged to help "Scarlet Out St. John Arena" Friday night vs. Michigan. The first 500 Ohio State students will also receive a "Beat Michigan" headband.
Sunday's match will serve as a summer camp reunion as well as a football ticket redemption match. Fans can redeem their football ticket from the Wisconsin game Saturday night for a $2 discounted ticket Sunday afternoon. There will also be a post-match meet and greet with the team.
BEST START IN NINE YEARS
At 12-0, Ohio State is off to its best start since 2004. The team is the only undefeated team remaining in the Big Ten and is one of seven left in all NCAA Division I. The 2013 Buckeyes are only the third squad in program history to reach a 12-0 start, with the other two coming in 2001 (13-0) and 2004 (19-0).
BLUE AND WHITE CLASSIC RECAP
The No.13 Ohio State women's volleyball team ended non-conference play last weekend, taking the Blue and White Classic tournament title. The two-day tournament was hosted by Buffalo in Buffalo, N.Y., Sept. 20-21. The Buckeyes captured a trio of three-set wins on the weekend, topping UMES (25-6, 25-10, 25-9), Valparaiso (29-27, 25-20, 25-17) and host Buffalo (25-13, 25-14, 25-16).
Senior Kaitlyn Leary was named the tournament's most valuable player, leading Ohio State in kills with 40 and adding 18 digs and six blocks (3s, 3a). Freshman Taylor Sandbothe and junior Erin Sekinger were named to the all-tournament team for their efforts. Sandbothe racked up 26 kills for a .521 attack percentage and totaled 11 blocks (2s, 9a), while Sekinger came in second on the squad will 28 kills and chipped in five blocks (0s,5a). Seniors Davionna DiSalvatore and Julianne Mandolfo had 30 digs a piece, while sophomore Andrea Kacsits added 15 kills and eight blocks (3s, 5a).
BUCKEYES IN THE BIG TEN
In its 31st season in the league, the Ohio State women's volleyball program has a 344-230 overall record in the Big Ten. The Buckeyes have captured three Big Ten titles (1989, 1991, 1994) and have produced six Big Ten player of the year awards. Overall, Ohio State has garnered 69 All-Big Ten selections.
Under head coach Geoff Carlston, Ohio State is 47-53 in Big Ten play. The Buckeyes enjoyed their best season under Carlston last year, finishing fourth overall with a 13-7 record.
The 2013 edition of the Ohio State women's volleyball team entered the season as a young squad after losing four senior starters last year, including AVCA All-Americans Mari Hole and Emily Danks. However, this youthful group has proven their talent on the court outweighs their overall collegiate experience.
Seniors Kaitlyn Leary, Davionna DiSalvatore and Julianne Mandolfo have thrived in their new leadership roles and junior setter Taylor Sherwin has taken full control of the Buckeye offense this season. Classmate Erin Sekinger has put up career numbers offensively and sophomore Andrea Kacsits is becoming a leader both statistically and vocally.
The freshmen quartet of Kylie Randall, Valeria León, Taylor Sandbothe and Maggie Heim entered the season poised to contribute right away and haven't disappointed. Sandbothe secured a starting position at right side, while Randall has provided offensive power at outside hitter. León's defensive skills have led to playing time in all matches. Heim, though battling an injury early, is still a major contributor in practice and has seen playing time as of late.
With four tournament titles under their belt, the Buckeyes are earning individual recognition on all levels. Recently, senior Kaitlyn Leary earned her second MVP honor of the season after guiding the Buckeyes to a trio of 3-0 wins at the Blue and White Classic. She was named AVCA National Player of the Week and Big Ten Player of the Week on Sept. 10 for her efforts in Ohio State's 3-0 record at the Seminole Invitational (Sept. 6-7).
Junior Taylor Sherwin has been awarded Big Ten Setter of the Week twice (Sept. 2 & Sept. 16) and picked up a pair of MVP honors at the NIU Invitational and the Sports Imports DC Koehl Classic.
Overall, six Buckeyes have been placed on all-tournament teams to start the season. Sherwin, Leary and Davionna DiSalvatore were placed on the NIU Invitational all-tournament team, while Taylor Sandbothe joined Leary and Sherwin on the Seminole Invitational team. All-tournament honors went to Sherwin and Andrea Kacsits at the conclusion of the Sports Imports DC Koehl Classic. Leary, Sandbothe and Erin Sekinger closed out the non-conference schedule on the Blue and White Classic all-tournament squad.
IN THE POLLS
Ohio State is one of eight Big Ten schools currently ranked in the AVCA poll Division I Coaches Poll: Penn State (1), Minnesota (9), Michigan (10), Nebraska (12), Ohio State (13), Michigan State (15), Purdue (20) and Illinois (24).
The squad moved up a spot in the Volleyball Magazine Top 20 poll this week to No. 12.
Senior Kaitlyn Leary and junior Taylor Sherwin are among the nation's best in their respective positions. Leary, a 6-1 outside hitter, ranks third in the NCAA with a 5.31 kills average, having 239 over 45 sets played. Leary also ranks fourth in points per set with 5.69. Sherwin, a 6-0 setter, is fifth overall with a 12.16 assists average.
The Buckeye defense is among the best in the Big Ten, limiting their opponents to .123 hitting percentage on the season. Overall, Ohio State has held their opponents to under .200 in all except one match and has kept four teams to hitting percentages below .100 on the season.
Leading the way is the Ohio State back row, averaging 15.33 digs per set. The senior trio of Davionna DiSalvatore, Julianne Mandolfo and Kaitlyn Leary has each reached the 100-dig plateau this season with DiSalvatore leading the team at 170 and a 3.78 average. Mandolfo has 131 and classmate Kaitlyn Leary isn't too far behind at 110 on the year.
Coached by Mark Rosen in his 15th season, the No. 10 Michigan Wolverines are 10-1 overall and are on a three-match winning streak heading into conference play. The Wolverines concluded their non-conference schedule hosting and winning their own Michigan Invitational. Michigan swept Marshall 3-0 and followed with another 3-0 win over Maryland Friday. The Wolverines rounded out the weekend Saturday with a 3-2 win over nationally-ranked Ohio.
Offensively, the Wolverines are led by senior outside hitter Lexi Erwin with 121 kills and middle blocker Jennifer Cross with 113 and a .385 average. Junior setter Lexi Dannemiller leads in assists with a 10.45 average. Defensively, the Wolverines are led by sophomore libero Tiffany Morales with 169 digs and a 4.22 average. Sophomore middle blocker Krystalyn Goode leads in blocks with 44 (5s, 39a).
The Buckeyes lead the series between the Wolverines 47-20 with play dating back to 1974. The two squads only met once last year and Michigan took the regular season finale with a 3-1 (22-25, 25-23, 18-25, 20-25) win in St. John Arena, Nov. 23.
SCOUTING MICHIGAN STATE
The No. 15 Michigan State Spartans are coached by Cathy George in her ninth season as head coach of the program. The Spartans are 11-1 on the season after hosting the Auto-Owners Insurance Spartan Invitational last weekend. Michigan State took the title after defeating Eastern Michigan, Duquesne and Cincinnati. The Spartans are on a nine-match winning streak going into conference play.
The MSU offense is led by senior outside hitter Lauren Wicinski with 173 kills and classmate setter Kristen Kelsay with 312 assist for a 7.80 assists average. Defensively, the squad is led by junior libero Kori Moster with a 4.45 dig average and 178 on the season and senior middle blocker Alexis Mathews with 51 blocks (4s, 47a).
The Buckeyes lead the series between the Spartans 44-27, with the Buckeyes coming away a with a 3-1 (24-26, 25-22, 25-23, 25-22) victory last season. Ohio State is on a six-match winning streak vs. Michigan State with the team's last loss coming in 2008. The Spartans will take on Penn State Friday night before coming to Columbus.
CAREER MILESTONES REACHED
While the Buckeyes was busy capturing the NIU Invitational title (Aug. 30-31), two members of the program reached milestones in their careers. Head coach Geoff Carlston earned his 300th career win, while senior libero Davionna DiSalvatore recorded her 1000th dig.
Carlston joined the Buckeyes in spring 2008 and came to Columbus with a 193-64 overall mark following five seasons with Ohio University and three at Concordia University in St. Paul, Minn. Now in his sixth season with Ohio State and 13th overall, Carlston picked up his 300th in the team's 3-2 victory over Green Bay, Aug. 31. The Plymouth, Minn., native has a career record of 310-132 for a .701 winning percentage.
DiSalvatore entered her senior season ranked 15th at Ohio State with 961 career digs. She became the 15th player in program history to reach the 1000-dig mark in the team's 3-2 win over Northern Illinois Saturday evening en route to a 29-dig performance for the Buckeyes.
The Palm Harbor, Fla., product had a breakout season in 2012, guiding the Buckeye defense all year. She led the squad with 512 digs on the year for a 4.00 average. Her season total ranked second overall in Ohio State history. DiSalvatore enters the upcoming weekend ranked 11th with 1,131 career digs.
Ohio State takes to the road for a pair of Big Ten matches, Oct. 4-5. The Buckeyes will face nationally-ranked Purdue, Oct. 4, in West Lafayette at 7 p.m. ET. Ohio State closes out the weekend at Indiana, Oct. 5, in a 7 p.m. ET match.