The No. 23 Ohio State women’s volleyball team is set to travel to Tallahassee, Fla. this weekend for its second early season tournament in the Sheraton Seminole Invitational.
Ohio State, 3-0 on the year and fresh off a victory against Polish professional team Dabrowa on Wednesday night, will take on No. 16 Western Kentucky at 11 a.m. Friday before matching up against the tournament host, No. 15 Florida State, at 7 p.m. The Buckeyes will finish off the tournament against unranked Florida Gulf Coast Saturday at noon.
Coach Geoff Carlston said all of the teams play good volleyball, but Western Kentucky and Florida State will be especially challenging.
“They’re two very good teams,” Carlston said. “Western Kentucky just beat (then-No. 16 Purdue) and Florida State had a great weekend as well.”
The Seminoles fell to No. 18 Illinois but knocked off then-No. 17 Kentucky and unranked Long Beach State.
Carlston said that it will be a challenge to play two tough opponents back-to-back, but said his team has been in similar situations before.
“That’s what we just did (at the NIU Invitational), we went five (against Green Bay) and then four hours later we played (Northern Illinois) and went five with them,” he said.
Carlston also said that both teams play a different brand of volleyball, adding that FSU is a “big, physical team.”
Sophomore middle blocker Andrea Kacsits said she is looking forward to playing a tough schedule and that she recognizes it as an opportunity to make a statement.
“I think it will be really fun to play higher-ranked teams,” Kacsits said. “Then potentially to beat higher-ranked teams.”
Junior setter Taylor Sherwin said she is looking forward to the opportunity as well.
“It’s (going to be) a fun experience for us because we are considered a young team this year,” Sherwin said. “I feel like our team has so much to offer, and everyone will be seeing that this weekend.”
While she is excited, Kacsits said she recognizes that this year’s team will have to find its own brand of volleyball.
“I expect to see really scrappy defense,” she said. “I think this year we’re going to play a lot of really ugly volleyball, but it’s going to be really fun volleyball.”
Even with an undefeated record, senior libero Davionna DiSalvatore said there is room for improvement at the service line.
“We struggled a little bit on our serving (at the NIU Invitational),” Disalvatore said. “I think we need to be more consistent.”
Even though there are areas that still need work, Carlston said he is happy to play teams ranked ahead of his own.
“I’d much rather play teams ranked ahead of us,” Carlston said. “This is a good test for our team to be able to play such quality teams this weekend.”
The Buckeyes, who are in the midst of a stretch of seven matches in nine days, will return to Columbus Sept. 13-14 for the Sports Imports DC Koehl Classic. OSU will play Indiana University, Purdue University at Indianapolis, Southeast Missouri and Xavier in the tournament.