Buckeyes Set to Host Indiana, No. 14 Purdue this Weekend
Nov. 6, 2013
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COLUMBUS, Ohio - The Ohio State women's volleyball team returns to St. John Arena this weekend for a pair of Big Ten matches, hosting Indiana Friday and No. 14 Purdue Saturday. Both matches are slated for 7 p.m. ET.
Friday, Nov. 8 - 7 p.m. ET
Ohio State (14-10, 2-10 Big Ten) vs. Indiana (9-14, 1-11 Big Ten)
Saturday, Nov. 9 - 7 p.m. ET
Ohio State vs. No. 14 Purdue (16-7, 7-5 Big Ten prior to Friday's match at Penn State)
MICHIGAN STATE, MICHIGAN RECAP
Ohio State traveled to nationally-ranked rivals Michigan State and Michigan for a pair of Big Ten matches, Nov. 1-2. The Buckeyes fell to then-No. 14 Michigan State in a three-set decision (25-21, 25-23, 25-17) Friday. Ohio State followed with a five-set heartbreaker to No. 17 Michigan (25-20, 25-22, 22-25, 19-25, 7-25) Saturday night.
Senior Kaitlyn Leary notched a career-high 31 kills against Michigan for a total of 41 on the weekend. Leary added in 18 digs and four blocks (4a). Freshman Taylor Sandbothe had 18 kills and nine blocks (3s, 6a) and teammate Kylie Randall had 21 kills. Senior Julianne Mandolfo had 39 digs, including 24 against Michigan. Classmate Davionna DiSalvatore and freshman Valeria León chipped in 15 and 14 digs, respectfully.
BUCKEYES IN THE BIG TEN
In its 31st season in the league, the Ohio State women's volleyball program has a 346-240 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 49-63 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. 40 in this week's NCAA RPI released Monday. Seven Big Ten opponents rank in the top 25, while 10 of the 12 league teams in the top 50.
Ohio State has faced 12 teams ranked in the top 60: Penn State (2), Nebraska (8), Minnesota (10), Wisconsin (13), Florida State (21), Michigan State (22), Illinois (23), Michigan (25), Purdue (30), Northwestern (48), Western Kentucky (56) and Xavier (57).
THE BIG 3-0
Senior Kaitlyn Leary became the first Big Ten student-athlete to eclipse the 30-kill mark this season last weekend, totaling 31 kills at Michigan (11/2). Her total also marked the first time anyone has reached 30 or more kills against the Wolverines since former Buckeye Stacey Gordon did so in 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 sixth in the NCAA with a 4.82 kills average, having 439 over 91 sets played. Leary also ranks 11th in points per set with 5.16.
Sherwin, a 6-0 setter, is among the top 40 nationally in assists, averaging 10.89 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 and points, averaging 4.82 and 5.16, respectively. Junior setter Taylor Sherwin is second in assists with a 10.89 average.
In Big Ten play, Leary is second in kills (4.35) and third in points (4.64). Sherwin is seventh in assists (9.62), while freshman Taylor Sandbothe and senior Julianne Mandolfo rank 10th in blocks (1.11) and digs (3.43), respectively.
The Indiana Hoosiers are 9-14 overall and hold a 1-11 mark in Big Ten play. Indiana dropped a pair of matches this past weekend, falling to nationally-ranked squads Wisconsin and Minnesota at home. The Hoosiers took on Wisconsin Friday, falling in four (25-23, 22-25, 22-25, 19-25), before being swept by Minnesota Saturday (25-18, 25-19, 25-12).
Junior Morgan Leach leads the Hoosiers in kills with 235. Freshman Megan Tallman has a team-best 488 assists and is followed by sophomore Katie Gallagher with 381. Senior Caitlin Hansen has 308 digs and a 3.67 average. Sophomore Awele Nwaeze has 72 blocks (13s, 59a), while Leach has 45 (45a).
The Buckeyes lead the series over the Hoosiers 47-26. Ohio State extended its winning streak over Indiana to six with a five-set thriller earlier in the season, 3-2 (25-23, 20-25, 25-19, 17-25, 17-15), in Bloomington. The Hoosiers last win over the Buckeyes came in a 3-1 decision in 2010.
The No. 14 Purdue Boilermakers are 16-7 overall and are 7-5 in conference play. The Boilermakers are coming off of a split weekend, dropping to nationally-ranked Minnesota Friday in five sets (17-25, 25-18, 25-23, 21-25, 15-10), before topping nationally-ranked Wisconsin, 3-2 (24-26, 25-21, 26-24, 31-33, 17-15), Saturday.
Offensively, the Boilermakers are led by junior Val Nichol with 232 kills and 533 assists. Sophomore Sam Epenesa has 190 kills and redshirt senior Rachel Davis has 429 assists. On defense, redshirt senior Carly Cramer has 353 digs and junior KiKi Jones has 104 (10s, 94a) blocks.
Purdue has a slight lead over Ohio State in the series at 41-40. The Boilermakers topped the Buckeyes earlier in the season at Purdue, 3-0 (25-23, 25-25, 25-21). Purdue will take on Penn State Friday before playing the Buckeyes.
1000 KILLS CLUB
Senior Kaitlyn Leary reached a major milestone in her collegiate career Oct. 20 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 20th in school history with 1,077 kills to date.
Leary has had a breakout season for the Scarlet and Gray this season, leading the Big Ten with 439 kills and a 4.82 average. She has totaled 13 matches with 20 or more kills and has reached double-digit kills 22 of 24 matches this season.
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 312-142 for a .687 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 seventh with 1,244 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.
The Buckeyes take to the road for a pair of matches at nationally-ranked Minnesota and Wisconsin. Ohio State will face the Golden Gophers Friday, Nov. 15, at 8 p.m. ET in Minneapolis. The Buckeyes close out the weekend with a 2 p.m. ET tilt against the Badgers, Nov. 17.