Ohio State Hosts No. 20 Illinois and Northwestern this Weekend
Nov. 20, 2013
COLUMBUS, Ohio - The Ohio State women's volleyball returns to St. John Arena this weekend and hosts a pair of Big Ten opponents in No. 20 Illinois and Northwestern. The Buckeyes and Illini will face off Friday at 7 p.m. ET and the squad will close out the weekend with an 8:30 p.m. ET match against the Wildcats Saturday.
2013 SENIOR CLASS
Leary will close out her career among the top 20 in all of Ohio State's hitting records. The Parma, Ohio, product, became the 21st Buckeye in program history to reach 1,000 career kills on Oct. 20 and currently ranks 19th with 1,146. She also ranks 15th with a 3.15 kills per set average, 16th with 2,969 attack attempts and 20th with 1,225 points. This season, Leary has already reached the 500-kill mark and has totaled double-digit kills in 26 of 28 matches played. She has also notched 20 or more kills 13 times, including a 31-kill performance at Michigan in early November.
DiSalvatore has been a mainstay in the Buckeye defense, providing solid play in the back row since her freshman season. The Palm Harbor, Fla., native reached 1,000 career digs in the team's third match of the year and currently ranks seventh with 1,261. She is also 15th overall with a 2.58 digs average.
Mandolfo came to Ohio State last season after spending two years at Creighton. The Omaha, Neb., product has provided great depth for the Buckeye back row and leads the team this season in digs with a 3.24 average. This year alone, Mandolfo has totaled 19 matches with double-digit digs, including a 25-dig performance at Northwestern in October.
MINNESOTA, WISCONSIN RECAP
Senior Kaitlyn Leary totaled 32 kills and 21 digs. Sophomore Andrea Kacsits notched 15 kills and 11 (0s, 11a) blocks, while freshman Taylor Sandbothe had 17 kills and three blocks (1s, 2a). Junior setter Taylor Sherwin totals 69 assists, 19 digs and five blocks (0s, 5a) and senior libero Julianne Mandolfo chipped in 28 digs.
BUCKEYES IN THE BIG TEN
Under head coach Geoff Carlston, Ohio State is 51-65 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), Nebraska (6), Minnesota (14), Wisconsin (15), Illinois (17), Florida State (24), Michigan State (26), Michigan (27), Purdue (41), Northwestern (50), Western Kentucky (52) and Xavier (54).
Sandbothe leads the team with 104 on the season, having 27 solo blocks and 77 block assists. She currently ranks 10th overall in the Big Ten in conference play with a 1.05 average.
THE BIG 3-0
Sherwin, a 6-0 setter, is among the top 50 nationally in assists, averaging 10.84 per set.
BIG TEN RANKINGS
In Big Ten play, Leary is second in kills (4.48) and third in points (4.74). Sherwin is seventh in assists (9.83), while freshman Taylor Sandbothe and senior Julianne Mandolfo are 10th in blocks (1.05) and digs (3.42), respectively.
Outside hitter Jocelynn Birks leads the Illini in kills with 391 and is third-best on the team with 222 digs. Liz McMahon is second on the team with 318 kills and has 81 blocks, while setter Alexis Viliunas has a 9.92 assist average with 982 on the season. Senior libero Jennifer Beltran has 415 digs and redshirt freshman Maddie Mayers has 103 (4s, 99a) blocks.
Ohio State trails Illinois in the series 36-39. The two squads met earlier in the season with the Illini coming away with the 3-1 (25-15, 15-25, 22-25, 20-25) win.
Senior Stephanie Holthus has 455 kills and is second-best on the team in digs with 308. Savannah Paffen leads the squad with 104 blocks (12s, 92a), while freshman setter Caleigh Ryan is average 11.23 assists with 1,168 on the season. Caroline Niedospial has a team-best 487 digs for a 4.39 average.
The Buckeyes lead the series between the Wildcats 50-20. The two squads met in earlier in the first half of Big Ten Conference play in Evanston with Northwestern coming away with the 3-1 win (25-20, 23-25, 25-19, 25-23). The Wildcats will take on the No. 2 Penn State Nittany Lions Friday before the Buckeyes.
1000 KILLS CLUB
Leary has had a breakout season for the Scarlet and Gray this season, leading the Big Ten with 508 kills and a 4.84 average. She has totaled 13 matches with 20 or more kills and has reached double-digit kills 26 of 28 matches this season.
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.
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 314-144 for a .686 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 1,261 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.