There is no such thing as an easy week in Big Ten women’s volleyball with eight teams, including the Buckeyes, ranked in the top 25.
After splitting its first four matches of conference play, the No. 14 Ohio State women’s volleyball team is scheduled to return to St. John Arena this weekend for matches against No. 19 Wisconsin and No. 11 Minnesota.
OSU is slated to play the Badgers Friday at 7 p.m. before a date with the Golden Gophers at the same time Saturday.
“You don’t have a break, you just don’t have a break,” coach Geoff Carlston said.
Junior defensive specialist Alyssa Winner echoed her coach, and said her teammates have to be ready to jump back on the court.
“(In the) Big Ten, it’s every single weekend you have to come in ready to play,” Winner said.
In many conferences, a weekend with two ranked opponents might be seen as especially tough, but for OSU, it has become a regular occurrence. With Wisconsin and Minnesota coming to town, five of the first six Big Ten matches for OSU will have been against top 25 opponents.
Carlston said the team has to be ready to go at all times in conference play and added that, top-to-bottom, every team is dangerous.
“There’s a lot of weapons out there in our conference, that’s why our conference is as tough as it is,” he said.
Sophomore middle blocker Andrea Kacsits said preparation will be key for the Buckeyes if they want to be successful this weekend.
“Our coaches spend so much time trying to come up with good game plans,” Kacsits said. “They scout each team so well, and I think that our individual preparation and our execution needs to improve.”
Freshman setter Maggie Heim said beyond preparation, it is important for the players to keep their composure once the whistle blows.
“Just really focusing on the court and focusing on our chemistry because when we have it, we’re pretty much unstoppable,” Heim said. “We are so good when our chemistry is there, so it’s going to be focusing on our game plan and focusing on staying with each other point to point.”
Anything can happen in the conference, junior setter Taylor Sherwin said, regardless where a team is ranked.
“We really need to focus on playing as a team and just playing our game out there,” Sherwin said. “Just because they are ranked doesn’t mean we can’t beat them, because we are ranked, too.”
The Buckeyes must keep things consistent also have to stay consistent if they want to have success in upcoming matches, but either way are happy to be back on campus.
“We’re glad to be home and I think we’re moving in the right direction,” Carlston said.
After its matchups with Wisconsin and Minnesota, OSU is scheduled to continue the Big Ten grind with three straight road matches.
The Buckeyes are scheduled to play Northwestern Oct. 16 in Evanston, Ill., Illinois Oct. 20 in Champaign, Ill., and No. 4 Penn State Oct. 23 in State College, Pa.