Without even leaving their home state, the Ohio State women’s volleyball team (8-1) will travel to Dayton, Ohio this weekend for the Flyer Invitational. There, the Buckeyes will face Evansville (5-4), Tennessee (7-2) and Dayton (6-4).
The team has not been home since the season kickoff, but will enjoy a lighter weekend of travel this time around. However, with this close proximity to Columbus comes heightened rivalry.
“Being in-state definitely adds a little bit to the match,” said head coach Geoff Carlston. “I think it’ll be a great atmosphere. It will be hot in there just like it was when we played Ohio here. I expect that there will be a lot of Dayton, Ohio State and volleyball fans in general.”
On Wednesdays, practice switches from reviewing fundamentals to focusing on preparing for upcoming games.
Carlston said preparation for teams starts in the regular season.
“We can’t cover everything during preseason because all the teams are so different,” said Carlston. “We look generally at what they like to do with rotations, and look at the patterns of different teams. We also want to make sure we aren’t too predictable on our end.”
The team will have be able to watch Dayton play a few times before they face the Flyers on Saturday night. This prior analysis of the team will be beneficial, as Carlston describes them as a “very strong team.”
According to the Big Ten, so is Ohio State.
Sophomore defensive specialist Hannah Gruensfelder was announced on Monday as Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week; making her the second Buckeye to receive conference recognition this season, following sophomore middle blocker Lauren Witte.
Gruensfelder reached double figures in digs in every match at the Towson Invitational. The Weldon Springs, Mo. native handled 48 error-free service receptions and averaged 6.70 digs per set over the weekend.
Junior outside hitter Ana Beatriz Franklin said she looks forward to this weekend’s competition.
“An away game is an away game, but I always feel a bigger sense of OSU pride within Ohio,” Franklin said. “Hopefully there will be a lot of students there to get a fun environment at the games.”
Ohio State will take on Evansville Friday at 3 p.m., Tennessee on Saturday at 10:30 a.m. and Dayton on Saturday at 7 p.m.