Under coach Geoff Carlston, the Ohio State women’s volleyball team has made the NCAA Women’s Volleyball tournament in five of the past seven seasons.
Of those five trips, two have now been scheduled to take place in Lexington, Ky., where the Buckeyes are set to play Lipscomb on Friday.
But this won’t be the first time the Buckeyes (21-11) and Bisons (21-8) have played one another in the NCAA tournament.
Despite receiving their first at-large bid this season, this is the Bisons’ fifth appearance in the NCAA tournament, and their second time facing the Buckeyes. In 2010, the Buckeyes and Bisons played one another in Dayton, and OSU won, 3-1.
After not playing one another in four years, Carlston said he expects this match to be very competitive.
“They’re well coached (and) they’re a great defensive team,” Carlston said. “They have two or three (really) outstanding offensive kids and they spread the ball around so that everyone on their team is a factor.”
Carlston said he believes Lipscomb is going to be a hard team to defend because it spreads the ball around on the attack.
“That’s a problem trying to defend against them because they do distribute the ball pretty evenly,” he said. “We know that they’re going to run a little faster offense then maybe we’ve seen.”
The Bisons, who call themselves “The Crazy Ones,” are coached by the Atlantic Sun conference’s Coach of the Year, Brandon Rosenthal, who is hoping to lead his team to an upset win. Senior outside hitter Lauren Ford, who ranks second in the conference in kills per set with 3.83, and sophomore setter Kayla Ostrom, who ranks second in the conference in assists per set with 11.23, will look to carry the load for their team.
They will also have the conferences 2013 Defensive Player of the Year in junior libero Bri McCombs.
OSU junior outside hitter Elizabeth Campbell said the Buckeyes aren’t going to make any special adjustments just because they haven’t played the Bisons this season.
“I think (we’ll do) what our coaches have taught us to do all season,” Campbell said. “Serve tough, stay aggressive, that’s gonna be something we’re going to try to carry throughout this whole tournament. Just being ourselves and being the team that we have to be, holding to our strengths.”
The Buckeyes will look to counter with senior setter Taylor Sherwin and sophomore middle blocker Taylor Sandbothe, who both received All-Big Ten recognition.
Sherwin said she was proud to have received such recognition for her play on the court this season.
“It’s very humbling and an honor,” Sherwin said. “It’s kind of a nice way to go about the end of my career.”
Friday’s match is scheduled for a 5 p.m. start at Memorial Coliseum. If the Buckeyes defeat the Bisons, they will play the winner of Oakland (22-9) and No. 13 Kentucky (26-5) on Saturday at 7 p.m.