After winning three consecutive matches and two against ranked opponents, the Ohio State women’s volleyball team (12-5, 3-2) looks to continue improving against No. 24 Northwestern (13-3, 3-2) Saturday.
The Buckeyes’ latest win came against No. 15 Illinois on Wednesday as the match went to five sets, before OSU prevailed by scoring six straight points.
Despite recent success, coach Geoff Carlston said the team needs to continue working on its defense and system, and said communication is still an issue.
“Eliminate those five-point runs that we’re giving up, but really we’re gonna keep focusing on our defense and our system and then put together a really good game plan (for) Northwestern,” Carlston said.
Carlston added that he thought the communication against the Fighting Illini was too quiet at times, and said that’s something that cannot happen against the Wildcats.
Northwestern is led by redshirt-senior middle blocker Katie Dutchman, who carries a hitting percentage that is second in the Big Ten at .408, and redshirt-junior libero Caroline Niedospial, who averages the second-most digs in the conference with an average of 4.8 per set. The Wildcats also have the Big Ten’s reigning co-Freshman of the Week in outside hitter Symone Abbott.
OSU senior outside hitter Erin Sekinger said the Buckeyes have benefited from having a deep bench this season.
“We have so much depth this year that we can put anybody in and they’re going to step up and be so aggressive, because that’s what (Carlston) is looking for,” Sekinger said.
The Wildcats are off to their best campaign since the 2010-11 season, when they finished 20-13. And coming into Columbus, the Wildcats have lost two of their last three matches.
In their past three matches, the Wildcats have swept then-No. 18 Minnesota, and have been swept by No. 6 Wisconsin and No. 5 Penn State.
Two Wildcats are set to return to the Buckeye state in redshirt-junior middle blocker Maggie Burnham, a native of Toledo, Ohio, and redshirt-freshman defensive specialist Abby Hofmeister, a native of Columbus and graduate of Bishop Watterson High School.
OSU’s match against the Wildcats on Saturday is scheduled for a 6:30 p.m. start at St. John Arena.