No. 24 Buckeyes to Face No. 2 Penn State, No. 13 Nebraska
Oct. 22, 2013
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COLUMBUS, Ohio - The No. 24 Ohio State women's volleyball team closes out the first half of the Big Ten season this week with a pair of contests against nationally-ranked opponents. The Buckeyes will take on No. 2 Penn State Wednesday at 7 p.m. ET in State College, Pa. The team will close out the week with a 7 p.m. ET match against No. 13 Nebraska Friday in St. John Arena.
Friday night's tilt will be streamed live on BTN.com. 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.
Admission for Friday's match is $5 for adults and $3 for students. Ohio State students are free with a valid Buck-ID. Tickets are available at OhioStateBuckeyes.com and group tickets (10 or more) are also available starting at $2 when purchased in advance. For more information, contact Ohio State Ticket Sales at 1-800-GOBUCKS or at email@example.com.
Wednesday, Oct. 23 - 7 p.m. ET
No. 24 Ohio State (14-6, 2-6) at No. 2 Penn State (16-2, 7-1)
Friday, Oct. 25 - 7 p.m. ET
Ohio State vs. No. 13 Nebraska (13-5, 6-2 prior to Wednesday's match vs. Iowa)
Ohio State's match Wednesday at Penn State closes out a three-match road swing for the squad. The Buckeyes competed at Northwestern (Oct. 16) and at Illinois (Oct. 20) last week and following their home match against Nebraska, the team will once again return to the road for a pair of contests at Michigan State and Michigan, Nov. 1-2.
The No. 17 Ohio State women's volleyball team was bested in a four-set match at Illinois Sunday, falling 3-1 (25-15, 15-25, 22-25, 20-25) in Huff Hall. The Buckeyes fell to 14-6 overall and 2-6 in Big Ten play.
Entering the match, senior Kaitlyn Leary needed five kills for 1,000 in her career. She reached the milestone in the first set and finished the contest with a match-high 20 kills. The Parma, Ohio, product became the 21st Buckeye in program history to notch 1,000 kills and has 1,015 in her career.
Leary also added 16 digs in the match for her 10th double-double of the year, adding a career-best three service aces. Senior Julianne Mandolfo finished with 15 digs, while freshman Valeria León and senior Davionna DiSalvatore had 11 and 10 digs, respectively. Sophomore Andrea Kacsits chipped in nine kills for the Buckeyes.
BUCKEYES IN THE BIG TEN
In its 31st season in the league, the Ohio State women's volleyball program has a 346-236 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 49-59 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. 33 in this week's NCAA RPI released Monday. Six Big Ten opponents rank in the top 25, while 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), Wisconsin (11), Minnesota (12), Nebraska (13), Michigan State (14), Illinois (25), Michigan (27), Florida State (32), Purdue (35), Northwestern (42), Xavier (56) and Western Kentucky (69).
IN THE POLLS
Ohio State stands at No. 24 in this week's AVCA poll Division I Coaches Poll and is one of eight Big Ten schools ranked: Penn State (2), Minnesota (7), Michigan State (10), Nebraska (13), Wisconsin (16), Michigan (17), Purdue (20) and Ohio State (24).
1000 KILLS CLUB
Senior Kaitlyn Leary reached a major milestone in her collegiate career Sunday at Illinois. The Parma, Ohio, product became the 21st student-athlete in program history to reach 1,000 kills in a career. Leary entered the match with 995 kills and after totaling 20 kills for the Buckeyes against the Illini, she now ranks 21st in school history with 1,015 kills to date.
Leary has had a breakout season for the Scarlet and Gray this season, leading the Big Ten with 377 kills and a 4.96 average. She has totaled 12 matches with 20 or more kills and has reached double-digit kills 19 of 20 matches this season.
Senior Kaitlyn Leary and junior Taylor Sherwin are among the nation's best in their respective positions. Prior to Wednesday's match at Northwestern, Leary, a 6-1 outside hitter, ranks fourth in the NCAA with a 4.96 kills average, having 377 over 76 sets played. Leary also ranks ninth in points per set with 5.32.
Sherwin, a 6-0 setter, is among the top 25 nationally in assists, averaging 11.34 per set.
BIG TEN RANKINGS
Four Buckeyes are among the Big Ten's best statistically entering the weekend. Senior Kaitlyn Leary leads all student-athletes in kills with a 4.96 average and is second overall in points with a 5.32 average. Junior Taylor Sherwin in second with an 11.34 assists average, while freshman Taylor Sandbothe is ninth in blocks (1.08) and senior Davionna DiSalvatore is 10th in digs (3.51).
Ohio State's defensive corps has limited its opponents to a .167 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 15.03 digs per set. That mark ranks second overall in the Big Ten. The senior duo of Davionna DiSalvatore and Julianne Mandolfo lead the squad this year, having 260 and 236 digs, respectively. Classmate Kaitlyn Leary has 184, while junior setter Taylor Sherwin has totaled 132 and freshman defensive specialist Valeria León has 144.
The Buckeye blockers are averaging 2.18 blocks per set with freshman Taylor Sandbothe leading the way. The Lee's Summit, Mo., native has a team-best 81 blocks on the season (22s, 59a) with a 1.08 average. Sandbothe's 1.29 blocks average (7s, 33a) in Big Ten play ranks sixth in the league.
SCOUTING PENN STATE
The No. 2 Penn State Nittany Lions are led by head coach Russ Rose in his 35th season with the program. The Nittany Lions boast a 16-2 overall record and are 7-1 in the Big Ten. The squad is coming off of a successful weekend on the road, topping Illinois in a close five-set match Friday, before sweeping Northwestern Sunday, 3-0.
At the center of the Nittany Lion offense are seniors Ariel Scott and Deja McClendon. Scott has 169 kills and on defense she comes in second with 45 blocks (2s, 43a). McClendon has 160 kills and 172 digs on defense. Micha Hancock ranks second nationally in aces per set with 41 and a .72 average and leads the team in assists with 701. Senior Katie Slay ranks third nationally in blocks with 102 (15s, 87a), which is also a team-best. Slay also ranks 10th nationally in hitting percentage with a .444.
Penn State leads the series over Ohio State 40-14. The Nittany Lions are on a 12-match winning streak and Ohio State's last win came in a three-set sweep in 2006 (30-19, 30-26, 30-21).
The No. 13 Nebraska Cornhuskers are coached by John Cook in his 13th year with the program. Nebraska, 14-4 and 6-2 in the Big Ten, split last weekend, sweeping Indiana Friday and falling in four to Purdue Saturday.
The Huskers are led both offensively and defensively by senior Kelsey Robinson, who ranks 18th nationally with a 4.49 kills per set average. On defense, Robinson has 228 digs for a 3.62 set average. Freshman Kadie Rolfzen has 173 kills followed by her twin sister Amber Rolfzen with 130. Freshman Justine Wong-Orantes has 216 digs and sophomore Cecilia Hall has 70 blocks (4s, 66a).
Nebraska is 9-4 when facing the Buckeyes. In their final meeting of 2012, the Buckeyes topped the Huskers, 3-1 (25-22, 26-24, 19-25, 25-23), in Lincoln. With the win, Ohio State handed Nebraska its first Big Ten loss at home in the NU Coliseum since joining the conference and it was Ohio State's first win over the Huskers since 1991. Nebraska will take on Iowa Wednesday before Ohio State.
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.
On their way to a season-opening perfect start, the Buckeyes picked up key wins over nationally-ranked opponents. At the Seminole Classic in early September, Ohio State topped then-No. 16 Western Kentucky and then-No. 15 Florida State on its way to the tournament crown.
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 312-138 for a .695 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 1,221 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.