The Ohio State women’s volleyball team is entering the final stretch of its regular season, but it has a string of Big Ten opponents in its path — the first being the Indiana Hoosiers.
The Buckeyes will travel to Bloomington, Indiana, on Saturday to face the Hoosiers for the first time this season. OSU stands at 15-10 overall and 5-8 in conference play, while Indiana is 15-11 and 4-9 in the Big Ten.
Winning momentum isn’t on either team’s side going into the match. OSU is coming off a tough loss at home to Wisconsin, while the Hoosiers were recently swept by Minnesota.
OSU freshman outside hitter Brooke Bailey said the team has spent more time on the particulars of the game heading into the final stretch of the season.
“More film, more preparation and just focusing on our side of the net, as well, are going to be key for us,” she said.
Indiana has yet to play a five-set match against any Big Ten opponent, but the team knocked off No. 13 Michigan on Oct. 29 in four sets.
OSU has also caused its fair share of upsets this season. They handed losses to both the No. 1 Nebraska Cornhuskers and the No. 11 Michigan State Spartans.
Junior outside hitter Ashley Wenz says that she’s seen the team grow a lot this season, especially in players coming off the bench.
“We’ve definitely figured out the little things that we were working on in the beginning of the season, and we know that we can look down the bench and use everyone,” she said.
Last season, the teams faced off only once, in Columbus, and it was the Buckeyes who took the 3-1 win over the Hoosiers.
This time around, OSU coach Geoff Carlston said the team’s success begins and ends with the serving and passing game — something that fell apart for his team against Wisconsin.
“(We need to) lock our passing up a little bit better – that’s where it starts,” he said.
The last push of the Buckeyes’ season is coming up quickly, and Indiana isn’t the only team they’ll be seeing for the first time this season. OSU face Purdue, Illinois and Rutgers before Big Ten play closes.
Wenz said that the last few games for the Buckeyes won’t be easy by any means, but they’ll be working to finish the season strong.
“We have some big matches coming up that are really important to us, and (we’ll be) taking everything one match at a time.”
The Buckeyes and Hoosiers will meet in Bloomington, Indiana, at 7 p.m. on Saturday.