Second Half of Big Ten Season Awaits Buckeyes this Weekend
Oct. 30, 2013
COLUMBUS, Ohio - The Ohio State women's volleyball team kicks off the second half of the Big Ten schedule this weekend, traveling to No. 14 Michigan State and No. 17 Michigan, Nov. 1-2. The Buckeyes and Spartans face off Friday at 6:30 p.m. ET in Jenison Field House. Ohio State closes out the weekend with a 7 p.m. ET match against the Wolverines in Cliff Keen Arena.
Friday, Nov. 1 - 6:30 p.m. ET
Ohio State (14-8, 2-8) at No. 14 Michigan State (17-5, 6-3)
Saturday, Nov. 2 - 7 p.m. ET
Ohio State at No. 17 Michigan (14-7, 4-6 prior to Friday's match vs. No. 2 Penn State)
PENN STATE, NEBRASKA RECAP
Senior Kaitlyn Leary led the squad in kills with 21 followed by freshman Taylor Sandbothe with 11 kills and two blocks (0s, 2a). Sophomore Andrea Kacsits totaled 10 kills with seven blocks (2s, 5a) and freshman Valeria León and senior Julianne Mandolfo chipped in 18 and 14 digs, respectfully.
BUCKEYES IN THE BIG TEN
Under head coach Geoff Carlston, Ohio State is 49-61 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 12 teams ranked in the top 60: Penn State (2), Wisconsin (9), Nebraska (10), Minnesota (11), Illinois (22), Michigan State (23), Michigan (25), Purdue (30), Florida State (34), Northwestern (46), Xavier (57) and Western Kentucky (60).
IN THE POLLS
1000 KILLS CLUB
Leary has had a breakout season for the Scarlet and Gray this season, leading the Big Ten with 398 kills and a 4.80 average. She has totaled 12 matches with 20 or more kills and has reached double-digit kills 20 of 22 matches this season.
Sherwin, a 6-0 setter, is among the top 35 nationally in assists, averaging 10.93 per set.
BIG TEN RANKINGS
In Big Ten play, Leary is third in both kills (4.18) and points (4.49). Sherwin is seventh in assists (9.43), while freshman Taylor Sandbothe and senior Julianne Mandolfo rank 10th in blocks (1.11) and digs (3.13), respectively.
SCOUTING MICHIGAN STATE
Senior Lauren Wicinski is ninth in points per set (5.25) and 19th in kills (4.45) and aces (.45). Senior Alexis Mathews is fifth in the nation in blocks with a 1.53 average, having 119 (9s, 110a) total. She is also 14th in hitting percentage at .427.
The Buckeyes lead the series over the Spartans, 44-28. The two squads met earlier in the season with the Spartans coming away with a 3-0 (27-25, 25-23, 25-22) win, to give the Buckeyes their first loss of the season.
Senior Lexi Erwin leads the squad with 256 kills, followed by classmate Jennifer Cross with 235. Junior setter Lexi Dannemiller has 847 assists to round out the top offensive players. On defense, sophomore defensive specialist Tiffany Morales leads the team in digs with 332 with a 3.99 set average. Blocking duo sophomore Krystalyn Goode and Cross have 85 (11s, 74a) and 80 (17s, 63a) blocks, respectfully.
The Buckeyes lead the series over the Wolverines 48-20. The Buckeyes hosted the Wolverines earlier in the season with Ohio State topping Michigan, 3-1 (25,22- 25-27, 25-20, 25-17), to kick off the B1G season. The Wolverines will first take on Penn State Friday, Nov. 1, before hosting the Buckeyes.
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.
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 312-140 for a .693 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 1,229 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.