No. 17 Ohio State Travels to Northwestern Wednesday
Oct. 15, 2013
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COLUMBUS, Ohio - The No. 17 Ohio State women's volleyball team is set for its first mid-week match of the season, traveling to Northwestern for a Wednesday night contest at Evanston, Ill. The 7:30 p.m. ET conference match will be broadcast live on BTN.
Wednesday, Oct. 16
No. 17 Ohio State (14-4, 2-4 Big Ten) at Northwestern (11-7, 3-3 Big Ten)
Wednesday's match at Northwestern kicks off a three-match road swing for the Buckeyes. Following its tilt with the Wildcats, Ohio State will travel to Illinois, Oct. 20, and then make a quick turnaround for a road match at Penn State, Oct. 23. After a home match against Nebraska, Oct. 25, the Buckeyes will once again return to the road for a pair of contests at Michigan State and Michigan, Nov. 1-2.
WISCONSIN, MINNESOTA RECAP
The Ohio State women's volleyball team fell in a pair of Big Ten matches last weekend, hosting then-No. 19 Wisconsin Friday and then-No. 11 Minnesota Saturday in St. John Arena. The Buckeyes dropped a heartbreaker to Wisconsin, 3-2 (20-25, 26-24, 23-25, 25-21, 15-10), and then fell to Minnesota in straight sets (25-16, 25-17, 25-19) Saturday.
Senior Kaitlyn Leary led in kills with 27 and notched 10 digs. Freshman Taylor Sandbothe finished with 19 kills and 11 blocks (2s, 9a) and junior Erin Sekinger added in 14 kills and eight blocks (0s, 8a). Freshman Kylie Randall had 18 kills and senior Julianne Mandolfo chipped in 25 digs followed by classmate Davionna DiSalvatore with 23. Junior setter Taylor Sherwin finished with a pair of double-doubles on the weekend, having 46 assists and 12 digs Friday and 21 assists and 10 digs Saturday.
BUCKEYES IN THE BIG TEN
In its 31st season in the league, the Ohio State women's volleyball program has a 346-234 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 49-57 in Big Ten play. The Buckeyes enjoyed their best season under Carlston last year, finishing fourth overall with a 13-7 record.
The Buckeyes stand at No. 24 in this week's NCAA RPI released Monday. Ohio State joins six other Big Ten opponents in the top 25 with 10 of the 12 league teams in the top 60.
Ohio State has faced or will face 12 teams ranked in the top 75: Penn State (2), Nebraska (6), Michigan State (9), Wisconsin (14), Minnesota (17), Illinois (25), Michigan (28), Florida State (37), Purdue (47), Northwestern (59), Xavier (60) and Western Kentucky (65).
IN THE POLLS
Ohio State stands at No. 17 in this week's AVCA poll Division I Coaches Poll and is one of eight Big Ten schools ranked: Penn State (4), Michigan State (5), Nebraska (8), Minnesota (10), Wisconsin (15), Michigan (16), Ohio State (17) and Purdue (25).
The squad ranks No. 17 in this week's Volleyball Magazine Top 20 poll.
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 4.93 kills average, having 335 over 68 sets played. Leary also ranks eighth in points per set with 5.27.
Sherwin, a 6-0 setter, is among the top 25 nationally in assists, averaging 11.35 per set.
BIG TEN RANKINGS
Four Buckeyes are among the Big Ten's best statistically this week. Senior Kaitlyn Leary leads all student-athletes in kills with a 4.93 average and is second overall in points with a 5.27 average. Junior Taylor Sherwin in second with an 11.35 assists average, while freshman Taylor Sandbothe and senior Davionna DiSalvatore are 10th in blocks (1.09) and digs (3.55), respectively.
Ohio State's defensive corps is among the best in the Big Ten, having limited opponents to a .158 attack percentage this season. Overall, the Buckeyes have held their opponents to under .200 in 13 matches and have kept four teams to hitting percentages below .100 on the year.
Leading the way is the Ohio State back row, averaging 14.76 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 238 and a 3.55 average. Mandolfo has 196 and Leary has 157 on the year. Junior setter Taylor Sherwin and freshman defensive specialist Valeria León have also eclipsed the 100 mark with 132 and 123, respectively.
The Buckeye blockers are averaging 2.22 blocks per set with freshman Taylor Sandbothe leading the way. The Lee's Summit, Mo., native has a team-best 73 blocks on the season (21s, 52a) with a 1.09 average. Sandbothe's 1.39 blocks average (6s, 26a) in Big Ten play ranks fifth in the league.
Senior Kaitlyn Leary is quickly approaching the 1,000-kill mark. To date, the Parma, Ohio, product has 973 in her career and has played in exactly 100 matches for the Buckeyes.
The Northwestern Wildcats are coached by Keylor Chan in his 14th season with the program. The Wildcats are 11-7 overall and 3-3 in the Big Ten. Northwestern enters Wednesday after a solid weekend, winning a pair of five-set matches on the road. The Wildcats topped Indiana Friday, 3-2 (25-18, 22-25, 24-26, 25-15, 15-8), and then followed with another 3-2 (13-25, 25-23, 29-27, 21-25, 21-19) contest Saturday against then-No. 20 Purdue.
Senior outside hitter Stephanie Holthus ranks 38th nationally with a 4.04 kills-per-set average and leads the team with 279 on the season. Freshman setter Caleigh Ryan ranks nationally in assists at No. 16, having an 11.48 average. Defensively, the Wildcats are led by redshirt sophomore Caroline Niedospial with 287 digs followed by Holthus with 196. Junior middle blocker Savannah Paffen has 64 blocks (8s, 56a) and freshman middle blocker Maddie Slater has 31 (4s, 27a).
The Buckeyes lead the series between the Wildcats 50-19 with play dating back to 1975. Northwestern last topped the Buckeyes in 2011 in five sets (22-25, 25-21, 22-25, 27-25, 13-15), snapping a seven-match Ohio State winning streak.
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)
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.
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.
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.
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 312-136 for a .696 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 eighth with 1,199 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 continues its road swing, traveling to Illinois, Oct. 20, for a 3 p.m. ET match in Huff Hall.