After playing the majority of its games on the road this season, the No. 18 Ohio State women’s volleyball team looks to defend St. John Arena against Big Ten newcomers Maryland and Rutgers.
Of the 24 matches played by OSU this season, only eight outings, including three tournament matchups, have been played in Columbus this year.
Sophomore middle blocker Taylor Sandbothe said she’s glad the team doesn’t have to travel as much, and added that the Buckeyes need to approach every game with the same mindset.
“It’ll be a lot nicer being able to stay home, not traveling as much (and) obviously having a home court advantage too,” Sandbothe said. “But I mean, we’re road warriors, as well as being home warriors.”
The Buckeyes (16-8, 7-5) are scheduled to play the Terrapins (9-14, 2-10) on Friday and the Scarlet Knights (7-18, 0-12) on Saturday.
The majority of Buckeye juniors and seniors, with the exception of junior middle blocker Tyler Richardson, as she is a transfer from Middle Tennessee State, have experience playing the Terrapins. The Buckeyes played Maryland in invitational play during the 2011-12 and 2012-13 seasons. The Scarlet Knights and the Buckeyes haven’t played one another since the 1981 season.
Junior transfer outside hitter Elizabeth Campbell has the most experience playing the Terrapins, as she faced them two times as a player at Duke.
“Maryland’s a very scrappy team and they fight very hard,” Campbell said. “They have really good pin hitters.”
She added that if the Buckeyes “scrap and play defensive as hard as (Maryland does),” they can come out with a win.
In her career against the Terrapins, she has averaged 12 kills, 7 digs, an assist and a service ace per game.
The Terrapins and Scarlet Knights come into Columbus at the bottom of the Big Ten, but have made strides compared to last season.
The Scarlet Knights are also the only Big Ten team without a win in conference play this season.
The Terrapins will be led by senior outside hitter Ashleigh Crutcher, who ranks seventh in the Big Ten in kills per set with an average of 3.55, while the Scarlet Knights will be led by junior defensive specialist Ali Schroeter, who ranks fifth in the Big Ten in digs per set with an average of 4.39.
Both matches are scheduled for a 7 p.m. start.