Ohio State to Face Two Top 15 Opponents on the Road
Nov. 14, 2013
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COLUMBUS, Ohio - The Ohio State women's volleyball hits the road for a pair of Big Ten matches against nationally-ranked opponents this weekend. The Buckeyes are set to face No. 11 Minnesota Friday at 8 p.m. ET in Minneapolis and will close out the weekend at No. 14 Wisconsin Sunday with a 2 p.m. ET match in Madison.
Friday, Nov. 15 - 8 p.m. ET
Ohio State (16-10, 4-10 Big Ten) at No. 11 Minnesota (22-5, 10-4 Big Ten)
Sunday, Nov. 17 - 2 p.m. ET
Ohio State at No. 14 Wisconsin (19-7, 8-6 prior to Friday's match vs. Penn State)
INDIANA, PURDUE RECAP
The Ohio State women's volleyball team swept the state of Indiana last weekend, hosting on Indiana and Purdue in St. John Arena, Nov. 8-9. The Buckeyes notched a 3-0 (25-19, 25-18, 25-20) sweep of Indiana Friday and kept the momentum going with a 3-1 (20-25, 25-23, 25-23, 25-22) win over then-No. 14 Purdue Saturday.
Senior Kaitlyn Leary totaled 37 kills and Taylor Sandbothe added 26 kills along with nine blocks (1s, 8a). Kylie Randall chipped in 14 kills on the weekend and sophomore Katie Mitchell had a career-high 10 kills against Purdue. Junior setter Taylor Sherwin totaled 78 assists, while senior libero Julianne Mandolfo had 23.
B1G FRESHMAN OF THE WEEK
Taylor Sandbothe was named Big Ten Freshman of the Week, the league announced Monday. The nod is the first of Sandbothe's career.
The Lee's Summit, Mo., product had a solid weekend for the Buckeyes, guiding the team to a pair of wins in Big Ten play over Indiana and then-No. 14 Purdue in St. John Arena. Sandbothe averaged 3.71 kills and 1.29 blocks per set over seven sets played.
Against the Hoosiers Friday night, the middle blocker finished second on the squad with 14 kills and a .385 attack percentage. Sandbothe added with two digs and two blocks in the sweep. In the team's 3-1 win over the Boilermakers Saturday, the freshman had 12 kills for the Buckeyes. Highlighting her weekend was her defensive play at the net against the Purdue as Sandbothe totaled a match-high seven blocks, having one solo and six block assists.
BUCKEYES IN THE BIG TEN
In its 31st season in the league, the Ohio State women's volleyball program has a 348-240 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 51-63 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. 41 in this week's NCAA RPI released Monday. Seven Big Ten opponents rank in the top 30, while nine 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 (15), Wisconsin (16), Illinois (18), Florida State (24), Michigan State (28), Michigan (29), Purdue (32), Western Kentucky (47), Xavier (56) and Northwestern (57).
Freshman middle blocker Taylor Sandbothe surpassed the 100 mark this past weekend and has 101 blocks on the season so far. She became just the sixth Buckeye freshman to reach 100 blocks during their rookie campaign. In the modern era of volleyball, Sandbothe is the second to reach that mark behind Danielle Meyer (2004-07).
Sandbothe leads the team with 101 on the season, having 26 solo blocks and 75 block assists. She currently ranks 10th overall in the Big Ten with a 1.04 average and her 1.13 average in Big Ten play is eighth.
THE BIG 3-0
Senior Kaitlyn Leary became the first Big Ten student-athlete to eclipse the 30-kill mark this season, 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 tied for fourth in the NCAA with a 4.86 kills average, having 476 over 98 sets played. Leary also ranks 11th in points per set with 5.17.
Sherwin, a 6-0 setter, is among the top 40 nationally in assists, averaging 10.91 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 4.86 and 5.17, respectively. Junior setter Taylor Sherwin is second in assists with a 10.91 average. Freshman Taylor Sandbothe stands 10th overall with a 1.04 blocking average.
In Big Ten play, Leary is second in kills (4.47) and third in points (4.74). Sherwin is seventh in assists (9.83), while Sandbothe is eight in blocks (1.13) and senior Julianne Mandolfo is 10th in digs (3.42).
The No. 11 Minnesota Golden Gophers are 22-5 overall and hold a 10-4 record in the Big Ten Conference, standing third in the league with a .714 percentage. The Gophers split last weekend at home, sweeping Iowa (25-21, 25-18, 25-20) Friday before falling to then-No.11 Nebraska 3-2 (25-22, 25-15, 27-25, 25-15, 15-11) Sunday.
Minnesota is led offensively by senior middle blocker Tori Dixon, having a 3.68 kills average and a .394 hitting percentage. Dixon also leads the defense in blocks with a team-best 123 blocks (12s, 111a) and ranks 30th nationally with a 1.31 average. Senior setter Alexandra Palmer averages 9.63 assists and classmate Ashley Wittman has 299 digs.
The Gophers lead the series over the Buckeyes 38-33. The two squads met up earlier in the season with the Gophers coming away with win a three-set win (25-16, 25-17, 25-19) in St. John Arena.
The No. 14 Wisconsin Badgers are 19-7 on the season and 8-6 in conference play. The Badgers are coming off of a split weekend as well, dropping to then-No.11 Nebraska 3-1 (25-18, 25-20, 25-23, 25-19) Friday before topping Iowa in a 3-0 sweep (25-9, 25-14, 25-20) Sunday.
The Badger offense is led by junior outside hitter Ellen Chapman with 344 kills and freshman setter Lauren Carlini with 933 assists. Defensively, sophomore Taylor Morey has 295 digs followed by senior Annemarie Hickey with 286. Rounding out the defense is freshman middle blocker Haleigh Nelson with 109 blocks (11s, 98a)
The Buckeyes hold the close series lead over the Badgers 34-33. Ohio State fell to Wisconsin earlier in the season, falling in five sets (20-25, 26-24, 23-25, 25-21) in St. John Area. The Badgers will take on the No. 2 Penn State Nittany Lions Friday before 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 19th in school history with 1,114 kills to date.
Leary has had a breakout season for the Scarlet and Gray this season, leading the Big Ten with 476 kills and a 4.86 average. She has totaled 13 matches with 20 or more kills and has reached double-digit kills 24 of 26 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 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 314-142 for a .689 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 1,256 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 return to St. John Arena for a pair of matches at home. Ohio State will face nationally-ranked Illinois Friday, Nov. 22, at 7 p.m. ET. The match will serve as the team's senior night, honoring the squad's three seniors. Ohio State will then host Northwestern at 7 p.m. ET, Nov. 23.