No. 17 Ohio State Travels to Northwestern Wednesday
Oct. 15, 2013
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.
WISCONSIN, MINNESOTA RECAP
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
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.
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
The squad ranks No. 17 in this week's Volleyball Magazine Top 20 poll.
Sherwin, a 6-0 setter, is among the top 25 nationally in assists, averaging 11.35 per set.
BIG TEN RANKINGS
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 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
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.
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
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.
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.