The Ohio State women’s volleyball team is heading into its second series of the season Friday and Saturday after kicking off the season undefeated through three games.
The squad will head to Oxford, Mississippi, to play Southern Mississippi and Ole Miss on Friday and Samford in the Rebel Invitational on Saturday.
“It’s a really good tournament,” head coach Geoff Carlston said. “You’re going to get three really different looks, three styles and three coaches who know what they’re doing. We won’t be in Saint John’s, so embracing that trip is something we’ve talked a lot about. We’re excited.”
After the opening weekend, Southern Miss holds a 3-0 record, with Ole Miss and Samford at 2-1.
Ohio State sophomore middle blocker Lauren Witte, was named co-Big Ten Player of the Week on Monday. Witte hit .636 during opening season and scored 48 points, 37 kills and 12 blocks with only one error, a number that Carlston deemed “unheard of.”
“Every team was worried about her,” Carlston said. “They were focused on stopping her and she still was able to be effective. When everyone knows that it’s coming and you can still play with the maturity that she played with; I think that’s the most impressive thing.
Witte said she hopes to focus on better exemplifying all of these traits throughout the season.
“Being a sophomore, I’ve been here for a year and know how the team and the Big Ten works,” Witte said. “At this point, I think it’s most important for me to have a constant core presence, leadership and skill-wise, that other teams are going to notice and worry about.”
The team values their “culture playbook,” a set of rules and beliefs that they are all fully behind, with Witte crediting it for her mindset this season.
“‘Trust the process’ is one of my favorites,” Witte said. “It’s easy to see the end goal. Obviously we want to win a national championship, but we have to realize that each practice is progressive and if we are getting better each day small bit by small bit, in the end it will pay off.”
Having just come out of the Buckeyes’ first series, there is time and room for improvement. Carlston said he aims to focus on playing around with the rotations more, and building more aggressive serving.
Witte and Carlston both look forward to the ongoing transition of the four freshmen on the team, a process that they both noted has been smooth and enjoyable so far.
The team will face Southern Miss on Friday at 1 p.m., Ole Miss on Friday at 7:30 p.m. and Samford on Saturday at 12:30 p.m.