The No. 24 Ohio State women’s volleyball team is looking to put a halt to a five-match losing streak, but will have to take down another top-15 opponent to do it.
The Buckeyes, in the midst of a 2-7 start to Big Ten play, are scheduled to face No. 13 Nebraska at 7 p.m. at St. John Arena.
Coming off a three-set loss to No. 2 Penn State, freshman setter Maggie Heim said in an email that she and her teammates will have to keep their heads up in order to end their losing streak.
“Keeping a very positive demeanor both on and off the court is huge,” she said. “Our energy and passion for the game will play a big role in a quick bounce back.”
Heim said the 3-0 loss at Penn State “revealed many things that we need to work on.” She also said she has “no doubt” the Buckeyes will be able to get back in the mix by the end of their conference schedule.
OSU started the season 12-0 in non-conference play before dropping then-No. 10 Michigan at home in its first Big Ten match, but have since slid down not only the conference rankings, but the American Volleyball Coaches Association Top 25 Poll.
A win against Nebraska is likely the only thing that could keep the Buckeyes, once ranked as high as No. 12, from falling out of the poll completely.
While it would help the team’s standings, junior setter Taylor Sherwin, who has recently been splitting time with Heim, said in an email it would “feel awesome” and spark the team for the rest of the season if they could get a win against Nebraska.
Junior defensive specialist Alyssa Winner said in an email a victory over Nebraska at home would feel even better than beating the Cornhuskers 3-1 on their home court last season.
In the short term, the Buckeyes recognize that they have to improve their offensive efficiency. The team hit minus .030 in the loss to Penn State, and Winner said they know how to get it done.
“Keep working as a team on our tempos and holding blockers on the other side of the net to get open looks,” she said.
Heim said the Buckeyes have to take a new mindset heading into the Nebraska match.
“Playing with a chip on our shoulder like we have nothing to lose will also help,” she said.
While the Penn State match marked the end of three games on the road, OSU will only be back in Columbus for a single match. The Buckeyes head back out on the road for matches against Michigan State in East Lansing, Mich., Nov. 1.