No. 14 Buckeyes Host No. 19 Wisconsin, No. 11 Minnesota
Oct. 9, 2013
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COLUMBUS, Ohio - The No. 14 Ohio State women's volleyball team returns to Columbus for a pair of Big Ten matches this weekend, hosting No. 19 Wisconsin and No. 11 Minnesota in St. John Arena. The Badgers come to town Friday for a 7 p.m. ET match and the Buckeyes follow with another 7 p.m. ET match against the Golden Gophers Saturday.
Both Buckeye matches will be streamed live on BTN.com. Saturday's broadcast is scheduled to re-air on BTN Tuesday, Oct. 15, 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, Oct. 11
No. 14 Ohio State (14-2, 2-2) vs. No. 19 Wisconsin (14-2, 3-1) - 7 p.m. ET
Saturday, Oct. 12
No. 14 Ohio State vs. No. 11 Minnesota (15-2, 3-1 prior to Wednesday's match at Penn State) - 7 p.m. ET
BUCKEYES GO PINK!
Friday's match against Wisconsin will serve as the team's "Buckeyes Go Pink" match in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness month. Fans are encouraged to wear pink and those that do will get $1 off their ticket.
There will be a post-match meet and greet with the Buckeyes follow Saturday night's match against Minnesota.
PURDUE, INDIANA RECAP
The Ohio State women's volleyball team concluded the second week of B1G conference play last weekend, traveling to then-No. 24 Purdue and Indiana, Oct. 4-5. The Buckeyes fell to Purdue in a three-set decision Friday (25-23, 25-15, 25-21). Ohio State rebounded with a 3-2 win over Indiana (25-23, 25-20, 25-19, 25-17, 17-15) Saturday.
Senior Kaitlyn Leary led in kills with 37, totaled 15 digs and six blocks (0s, 6a) and picked up a double-double against Indiana. Freshman Taylor Sandbothe finished the weekend with 17 kills and 10 blocks (1s, 9a) and sophomore Andrea Kacsits added 14 kills and six blocks (1s, 5a). Senior Julianne Mandolfo led in digs with 26 while freshman Valeria León chipped in with 17. Freshman Maggie Heim totaled a career-high two kills and six assists and one service ace against Indiana.
BUCKEYES IN THE BIG TEN
In its 31st season in the league, the Ohio State women's volleyball program has a 346-232 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 49-55 in Big Ten play. The Buckeyes enjoyed their best season under Carlston last year, finishing fourth overall with a 13-7 record.
IN THE POLLS
Ohio State stands at No. 14 in this week's AVCA poll Division I Coaches Poll and is one of eight Big Ten schools ranked: Penn State (4), Michigan State (7), Nebraska (9), Minnesota (11), Ohio State (14), Michigan (17), Wisconsin (19) and Purdue (20).
The squad ranks No. 13 in this week's Volleyball Magazine Top 20 poll.
BEST START IN NINE YEARS
Ohio State entered conference play with a 12-0 mark prior to the Big Ten opener Sept. 27. The start to the season was the best for the program since 2004.
Senior Kaitlyn Leary and junior Taylor Sherwin are among the nation's best in their respective positions. Leary, a 6-1 outside hitter, ranks fourth in the NCAA with a 5.13 kills average, having 308 over 60 sets played. Leary also ranks fifth in points per set with 5.51. Sherwin, a 6-0 setter, is seventh overall with a 11.75 assists average.
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 middle blocker, 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.
ON THE OFFENSIVE
Ohio State's attackers are having a solid season so far. The Buckeyes average 14.05 kills per set to rank No. 2 in the league and No. 26 in all of NCAA Division I. Senior Kaitlyn Leary leads the group, averaging 5.13 kills per set. Freshman outside hitter Kylie Randall is second on the squad with a 2.92 average, while junior Erin Sekinger and freshman Taylor Sandbothe are tied for third at 2.42.
Pacing the Buckeye offense is junior setter Taylor Sherwin. The Orlando product is first in the Big Ten and seventh nationally with an 11.75 assists average, having 705 helpers on the season.
Ohio State's defensive corps is among the best in the Big Ten, having limited opponents to a .149 attack percentage this season. Overall, the Buckeyes have held their opponents to under .200 in 12 matches and have kept four teams to hitting percentages below .100 on the year.
Leading the way is the Ohio State back row, averaging 14.80 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 215 and a 3.64 average. Mandolfo has 171 and Leary isn't far behind at 147 on the year. Freshman defensive specialist Valeria León has also eclipsed the 100-mark and has 110 overall.
The Buckeye blockers are averaging 2.27 blocks per set with freshman Taylor Sandbothe leading the way. The Lee's Summit, Mo., native has a team-best 62 blocks on the season (19s, 43a) with a 1.05 average. Sandbothe's 1.40 average (4s, 17a) in Big Ten play ranks fifth in the league.
Leary was named the AVCA National Player of the Week and Big Ten Player of the Week on Sept. 10 for her efforts at the Seminole Invitational (Sept. 6-7). Sherwin has been awarded Big Ten Setter of the Week twice (Sept. 2 & Sept. 16)
Senior Kaitlyn Leary and junior Taylor Sherwin finished the non-conference schedule with a pair of MVP honors each. Leary was named the Seminole Invitational (Sept. 6-7) and the Blue and White Classic (Sept. 20-21) Most Valuable Player, while Sherwin was awarded the honor at both the NIU Invitational (Aug. 30-31) and the Sports Imports DC Koehl Classic (Sept. 13-14).
Overall, six Buckeyes have been placed on all-tournament teams during non-conference play. 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.
The No. 19 Wisconsin Badgers are coached Kelly Sheffield in his first season with the program. The Badgers are 14-2 on the season and 3-1 in conference play. Last weekend, Wisconsin topped Iowa, 3-1 (25-17, 25-19, 25-17, 25-20), before falling to then-No. 10 Nebraska, 3-2 (23-25, 24-26, 25-22, 32-30, 6-15).
Wisconsin's offense and defense is composed of players who all take on multiple roles. Offensively, the Badgers are led by junior outside hitter Ellen Chapman with 211 kills and freshman setter/outside hitter Lauren Carlini with 509 assists for a 10.60 set average. The defense is led by a corps of players who all combine to total 933 digs. Sophomore libero Taylor Morey leads the way with 243 digs. Junior defensive specialist and outside hitter Deme Morales has 143 digs, while Carlini has 138 digs. Freshman middle blocker Haleigh Nelson has 65 (5s, 60a) blocks and redshirt junior middle blocker Dominique Thomas has 59 (6s, 53a).
The Buckeyes hold a slight 34-32 edge in the series over the Badgers. Ohio State is on a three-match winning streak with Wisconsin's last win coming in 2011 in three sets (25-21, 25-21, 28-26) in St. John Arena.
The No. 11 Minnesota Golden Gophers are coached by Hugh McCutcheon who is in his second season with the program. The Gophers are 15-2 overall and 3-1 in the B1G. Minnesota is coming off of a 1-1 weekend, falling to then-No.10 Nebraska in three sets (25-22, 35-19, 25-19) before topping Iowa, 3-2 (25-20, 25-23, 25-17, 25-17, 15-11).
Senior middle blocker Tori Dixon is ranked No. 10 in the NCAA with a 5.27 points-per-set average. She leads the squad both offensively and defensively, having a 4.23 kills average, a .463 hitting percentage and 68 total blocks (9s, 59a). Ashley Wittman has 179 kills and leads the team with 149 digs. Alexandra Palmer averages 10.39 assists per set.
The Gophers lead the series 37-33 over the Buckeyes. Minnesota is on a three-match winning streak with the Buckeyes last win coming in 2011 in St. John Arena.
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 312-134 for a .699 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 ninth with 1,176 career digs.
Senior Kaitlyn Leary spent a portion of her summer with the U.S. Women's National Volleyball Senior A2 program in Dallas, June 25-July 3. Alongside 47 other student-athletes from around the country, Leary trained for six days before competing against other A2 program teams and the top four Premier Volleyball League (PVL) teams in a tournament.
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.
Ohio State travels to Evanston, Ill., Oct. 16, for a mid-week match at Northwestern. The Buckeyes and the Wildcats face off at 8 p.m. ET live on BTN. Ohio State then heads to Illinois, Oct. 20, for a 3 p.m. ET match against the Illini.
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