Last year Ohio State’s Women’s Volleyball finished the season 21-15. They advanced to the Regional Semi-finals of the NCAA tournament for the second straight year after defeating Middle Tennessee State 3-1 in the opening round match and knocking off host Tennessee 3-2 in the second round. In the regional semi-final they faced inter-conference foe Illinois for a chance to move but lost 3-1 to the eventual National Runner-Ups. All was not lost with their exit from the tournament as they finished the season ranked 18th in the polls and completed their third straight 20+ win seasons.
Fifth year coach Geoff Carlston is looking to take the 2012 season one step further. Carlston looks to his upper-classmen to lead his Buckeyes back to the tournament and hopefully past the regional semis. AVCA Honorable Mention All-American’s Mari Hole and Emily Danks return with fellow seniors Mariah Booth and Amanda Peterson and junior Kaitlyn Leary to help lead the Buckeyes in the upcoming season.
On a team that had 1928 kills, Hole, Danks, Booth, and Leary combined for 1462 of them. Hole lead the team with 534 individual kills, while Danks finishing second with 453. 6’1 Junior Kaitlyn Leary was third on the team in kills with 267 and 6’3 senior Mariah Booth finished fourth with 208. The Buckeyes are going to depend on these four to repeat in 2012 because nobody else on the team had more than 83, and that was senior Amanda Peterson.
The 2012 season will start at home this year on 8/24 against Houston followed by a doubleheader on 8/25 with the Toledo Rockets and the Oregon Ducks. The Buckeyes will then go on the road for the next month leading up to the Big Ten schedule with tournament trips to the University of Maryland, Western Kentucky, and then Houston. Ohio State will start the Big Ten schedule at home on 9/22 against the Iowa Hawkeyes and their first road match at Minnesota.
Although the Buckeyes have high hopes of returning to the NCAA tournament the road through the Big Ten will not be easy. Perennial powers Nebraska, Illinois, and the mighty Penn State Nitany Lions all pose tough threats. The Buckeyes will face the Cornhuskers at home on 9/22 and on the road on 10/26. They then travel to Illinois to face the National Runner-up Illini on 10/5 and then back in Columbus on 11/10. Penn State is always a threat to win the national championship and the Lady Bucks will face them at home on the Big Ten Network on 10/17 and then travel to Happy Valley 11/21.
Coach Carlston definitely has the right pieces in place to have another solid season with very high aspirations to win a National Championship. His upper-classmen will not only need to be the powers on the court that we know they can be, but they need to the leaders off the court for the remaining under-classmen if they hope to compete not only in the Big Ten but nationally. One thing is for sure though, the Buckeyes quest for a fourth straight 20 win will not only be tough, but entertaining.