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Ohio State hosts pair of conference foes

The Ohio State women’s volleyball team is all about breaking records. 

This is the first season since 2006 that the Buckeyes have recorded 20 wins. They are 20-7 overall.

Their eight conference wins are their most since the 2006 season.

The Buckeyes started the season at No. 120 in the NCAA RPI rankings and have climbed to No. 25. The numbers are evidence enough of the growth of the team. 

The Big Ten and the Pac-10 continue to produce the most competitive women’s volleyball teams. The Big Ten has seven teams in the Top 30, while the Pac-10 sports six Top 30 teams. 

The Buckeyes defeated Iowa 3-1 and Wisconsin 3-0, both on the road last weekend, climbing to fifth in the Big Ten standings.    

During the Iowa match, Katie Dull became the 17th Buckeye to break 1,000 career kills. 
OSU coach Geoff Carlston does not expect her to slow down any time soon.

“She is a highly motivated kid and knows she has lots of room to grow. She won’t slow down,” Carlston said.

Senior Kristen Dozier’s performance against Wisconsin earned her Buckeye Athlete of the Week honors. Dozier had a match-high 11 blocks, 3 solo and 8 assisted. That set a season high for her, and the 11 blocks fell just two short of her career-high 13 blocks, set in 2006.

She scored a team-high 14 points against Wisconsin.    

Senior Chelsea Noble’s list of honors continues to grow. She has been named a third-team selection on the ESPN Academic All-District IV squad. Noble has started at libero every match this season, leading the team with 703 digs. 

On Friday, the Buckeyes host Northwestern, a team they beat 3-0 in the start of conference play. Carlston expects the Wildcats to come in with confidence.

The Buckeyes take on No. 5 Illinois Saturday. They lost to Illinois, 3-1, in their first conference game of the season.

The Buckeyes will have to be aggressive offensively against Illinois, because they do not make a ton of mistakes, Carlston said.

“They are steady and we have to beat them,” he said. 

Two former OSU volleyball players will return this weekend as assistant coaches at Illinois and Northwestern. Kristen Jensen played for the Buckeyes in 1992-1995 and is the assistant coach at Northwestern. Fellow Buckeye Jen Flynn (Oldenberg) led the Buckeyes from 1996-1999 and is the assistant coach at Illinois. 

The Buckeyes face Northwestern 8 p.m. Friday at St. John Arena. They play Illinois 2 p.m. Sunday at St. John Arena.

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