Daniel Chi / Asst. photo editor
The Ohio State women’s volleyball team is on a roll.
After winning the Maryland Invitational on Sept. 1, the Buckeyes captured their second straight tournament title when they won the Western Kentucky University Tournament this weekend.
Senior outside hitter Mari Hole said the team’s winning ways shows people that they will fight to keep such a trend afloat.
“We will fight for every win,” Hole said, “and we won’t go down without a fight ever.”
On route to another championship, OSU upset No. 10 Dayton 3-2 and defeated IUPUI 3-1 on Friday before finishing off tournament-host Western Kentucky 3-1 on Saturday at the E.A. Diddle Arena in Bowling Green, Ky.
The Buckeyes improved to 8-1 overall with the wins.
Their win against the Flyers left an impression on some members of OSU’s squad.
“It was a really fun game playing an upper-ranked team,” said junior outside hitter Kaitlyn Leary. “In-state team battle between us and Dayton was a high energy game. That’s what a team looks for, as we drive off of energy. Everyone played tough, and to finish strong against a tough opponent like that is awesome.”
Buckeyes coach Geoff Carlston said this tournament was a tough one, and was “really proud” of his team’s performance over the weekend, particularly against Dayton.
“Well, it was a tough tournament, all three teams we played were really solid, and Dayton was a top-ranked team,” Carlston said. “So I am really proud, and I liked how we battled against Dayton. It was a five-gamer, we only won by a few points, but that’s what we had to do.”
Dayton wasn’t the only team that tested the Buckeyes, though.
Against Western Kentucky, OSU found themselves down six points in the fourth set.
“We kind of let them come back into the game, and it was just a battle,” Hole said. “They took an early lead, (we) were down I think six points, and we just kept on fighting. In the end, we toughed it out.”
For Carlston, seeing his team step up in an adverse situation was encouraging.
“Coming back today, I thought we played really well, yet we were down six points in the fourth set, and then we had a great comeback,” Carlston said. “Very happy with how we executed down the stretch in critical moments of the game, and once again finishing strong.”
In each tournament, there has been at least one player from the Buckeyes who has been named to the respective All-Tournament teams.
At the conclusion of the Maryland Invitational, Hole, senior outside hitter Emily Danks and junior libero and defensive specialist Davionna DiSalvatore were named to that specific All-Tournament team. Danks was even honored as the competition’s Most Valuable Player.
This weekend, Hole was declared the tournament’s Most Valuable Player while Leary took home her first All-Tournament honor.
In addition to MVP, it was Hole’s third straight time being named to an All-Tournament team.
Instead of relishing on their personal accomplishments, Leary and Hole emphasized the importance and impact of their teammates on their own performances.
“It’s an honor, Amanda (Peterson) was setting me up really well this weekend,” Leary said. “Mari was great as she hit her shots and just shows how good our team is.”
Hole took it a step further and said she thought such the awards said more about the team than just the two people that received them.
“Every weekend, we have different people that make the All-Tournament team. For an individual player to be good, the foundation must be strong, and that foundation is our team,” Hole said. “Every team that plays us, they can’t focus on just one or two players, but they have to strategize against everyone on our team, which makes us a very tough team to play against.”
Though just eight games into their season, Carlston agreed with Hole and said he’s starting to see what type of team he has.
“We’re turning into a pretty resilient team,” Carlston said. “We have younger players come in and make a difference, along with our older players that step in and play big for us. Everyone on our team contributed to our victories this weekend. We can mix and match, and that really helps us out.”
Leary added that this team is starting to get a feel for one another.
“It’s just really exciting because we got a good group this year,” Leary said. “We graduated two seniors, and we are just really connected as a team. We have been sticking to the game plan, and everything is just working out nicely now.”