After being swept in its first two Big Ten games of the season, the Ohio State women’s volleyball team is looking for redemption this weekend.
The Buckeyes are scheduled to face Iowa (8-5, 0-2) and No. 8 Nebraska (8-3, 2-0) in back-to-back road games before opening home Big Ten play at St. John Arena.
Coach Geoff Carlston said OSU won’t overlook the Hawkeyes as he expects Iowa to play hard for first-year head coach Bond Shymansky, who returned to his alma mater after spending five seasons at Marquette and seven at Georgia Tech. In his 12 seasons of coaching, he has taken his programs to NCAA tournament six times.
“Whenever you have a new staff, that first year is always dangerous because the players come in highly motivated,” Carlston said. “Iowa’s always been good (at their place).”
While the Buckeyes (9-5, 0-2) are slated to also face the Hawkeyes in Columbus on Nov. 19, their only match of the season against the Cornhuskers is this weekend.
Junior middle blocker Tyler Richardson said, there is more motivation to beat the Cornhuskers this week than there normally would be.
“It does add (meaning because) we don’t get to play them again,” Richardson said.
Like OSU, Nebraska will be coming off a match Friday, so each team will have one day’s rest. The Cornhuskers’ three losses this season have all come to ranked teams: No. 2 Texas, then-No. 3 Stanford and then-No. 13 Florida State.
Coming off a weekend where the Buckeyes were dominated 3-0 by Wisconsin, sophomore defensive specialist Valeria León said she believes if basic mistakes are corrected, then the team has a chance to win.
“(We need to) stop their runs, communicate all the time and (bring) more consistency,” she said.
The Buckeyes will likely welcome back sophomore middle blocker Taylor Sandbothe, who has been away from the team for two weeks because of illness. However, they could be without sophomore outside hitter Kylie Randall this weekend, as she was not in uniform during Wednesday’s practice and had tape on her left ankle.
The Buckeyes are set to return home after being away for four weekends, beginning with a game against No. 16 Illinois (11-3, 3-0) Oct. 8 at 7 p.m.