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Critical weekend awaits women’s volleyball team

The women’s volleyball team goes on the road this weekend in an attempt to move up in the Big Ten. 

The Buckeyes got their first win against a ranked opponent, No. 7 Minnesota, Saturday at St. John Arena. They are now tied for fifth in the Big Ten. 

The win earned the Buckeyes (6-6 Big Ten) 14 votes in the AVCA Division I Coaches Top 25 Poll this week — their first time getting votes since September 2007. 

The Buckeyes meet the Iowa Hawkeyes on Friday evening. The Hawkeyes are last (3-10) in the Big Ten.

In their first match-up this season the Buckeyes swept Iowa, 3-0. Despite their recent losses, the Hawkeyes are still a part of the strongest volleyball conference in the nation. 

“A few years ago in the Big Ten, three or four teams were easy wins,” coach Geoff Carlston said. “There is no such thing now. That keeps us in the moment.”

The Buckeyes will travel to Madison to take on the Wisconsin Badgers on Saturday evening. The Badgers are tied with Buckeyes in the Big Ten.

This matchup will determine if the Buckeyes will move up in Big Ten rankings. 

The Buckeyes struggled with the Badgers in their first meeting, falling 3-1. They are among the elite in the Big Ten and will be extremely competitive at home, Carlston said. 

The team has been good at staying focused throughout practice this week in preparation for a lot of travel. Players and coach Carlston alike know that a Big Ten title is on the horizon and every win counts.

“Any win on the road is a big deal,” Carlston said.

The weekend is huge for Katie Dull, as she is on the brink of breaking the 1,000 career kills mark. At 996 career kills, she will be the 17th Buckeye to ever surpass 1,000. She is No. 4 in kills in the Big Ten and No. 57 in the NCAA. 

Dull has been focusing on her defense, playing in the back row. She has recorded nine double-doubles (kills-digs) this season. 

“Dull led the team in digs last week; clearly she is improving,” Carlston said.

The Buckeyes face the Iowa Hawkeyes at 7 p.m. Friday in Carver-Hawkeye Arena and play the Wisconsin Badgers at 7 p.m. Saturday in the Wisconsin Field House.

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