September 21, 2016

Big Ten Gauntlet Opens with Pair of Top-3 Foes

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Sept. 21, 2016

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COLUMBUS, Ohio – The No. 17 Ohio State University women’s volleyball team has the opportunity to battle back-to-back foes ranked inside the top-3 to begin the 2016 Big Ten slate. The Buckeyes start by facing No. 3 Wisconsin on Friday (Sept. 23) before clashing with No. 2 Minnesota Saturday (Sept. 24) evening. Both contests are set to get rolling at 8 p.m. ET/7 p.m. CT.

WEEKLY BASICS
Friday, Sept. 23 — 8 p.m. ET — Madison, Wis. (UW Field House)
#17 Ohio State (10-2) at #3 Wisconsin (8-1)
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Saturday, Sept. 24 — 8 p.m. ET — Minneapolis, Minn. (Sports Pavilion)
#17 Ohio State at #2 Minnesota (8-1)
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Complete Match Notes 

CAREER RECORD BOOKS UNDER SIEGE
Seniors Valeria León and Taylor Sandbothe have launched an assault on the Ohio State Record Books, cracking the Top-10 in multiple statistical categories with sights set on the top spot:

León:
1,433 total digs ranks second in OSU history (school record – 1,572 digs – Stacey Gordon; 2001-04)
3.38 digs per set rank third (school record – 3.45 digs/set – Chelsea Noble; 2008-09)

Sandbothe:
1.13 blocks per set rank second in OSU history (school record – 1.19 blocks/set – Shellye Sills; 1997-99)
94 solo blocks rank second (school record – 139 – Sherri Rinker; 1984-87)
464 total blocks rank third (school record – 517 – Dawn McDougall; 1988-91)
370 block assists rank fifth (school record – 442 – Dawn McDougall; 1988-19)
.312 attacking efficiency ranks sixth (school record – .366 – Sara Daniel; 1991-94)

*Complete `Career Records Watch’ can be found on Page 6.

AVCA RANKINGS
Ohio State sits at No. 17 in this week’s AVCA Coaches Poll. The Buckeyes are one of eight Big Ten teams ranked in the Top-25 with Illinois also receiving votes. The Big Ten Conference combined for an overall non-conference record of 122-36 (.772).

FINAL NON-CONFERENCE TUNE-UP
Non-conference action ended on a high note for the Buckeyes, completing a weekend sweep in the Ball State Active Ankle Challenge. Ohio State outscored Valparaiso, UNCG and the host Cardinals by a combined 86 points in nine sets played. Valeria León was named the event’s MVP. Audra Appold and Taylor Sandbothe joiner her on the all-tournament team.

ADD TWO WINS TO THE SEASON TALLY
The Buckeyes registered their sixth and seventh victories of the year while in Missouri, grasping victory over IUPUI and Green Bay. Valeria León and Taylor Sandbothe were each named to the All-Dr. Mary Jo Wynn Invitational Team. Sandbothe earned the honor by virtue of a .355 attacking efficiency and averages of four kills and one block per set. León, meanwhile, put forth 4.38 digs per set and served as the Buckeye libero throughout the weekend.

DOWNTOWN ACTION
In a dress rehearsal of sorts for the 2016 NCAA Championship being hosted at Nationwide Arena Dec. 15 & 17, the Buckeyes held the Sports Imports D.C. Koehl Classic in downtown Columbus Sept. 2-3. Ohio State won their first eight sets, sweeping past LIU Brooklyn and Wyoming before going ahead two-sets-to-none vs. No. 10 BYU, and ultimately finishing 2-1 inside the home of the Columbus Blue Jackets.

BUCKEYES DEPART TEXAS WITH THREE WINS IN HAND
Ohio State leaped into the 2016 season by capturing the North Texas Challenge title, securing three victories in the process. The Buckeyes opened by sweeping past Texas State and North Texas in straight sets before handing No. 16 Texas A&M its first loss of the young season, besting the Aggies in five sets. Taylor Hughes, Valeria León and Taylor Sandbothe earned all-tournament honors with Sandbothe selected as the event’s Most Valuable Player.

SANDBOTHE NAMED BIG TEN’S BEST OF OPENING WEEK
Taylor Sandbothe won Big Ten Player of the Week distinction after her MVP performance at the North Texas Challenge. She has now earned B1G weekly laurels in all four seasons of her career. She was the conference’s Player of the Week last year (Sept. 7, 2015), Defensive Player of the Week in 2014 (Sept. 8) and twice the Freshman of the Week (Nov. 11; Nov. 25, 2013).

For the week, Sandbothe averaged 4.09 kills per set while attacking at a .507 clip. She was responsible for a total of 55.5 points (5.05/set) on 45 kills, 10 blocks (1s, 9a) and five service aces. She exploded for career highs with 26 points and 32 point’s in Ohio State’s top-20 victory over No. 16 Texas A&M.

COLUMBUS — THE CITY THAT CROWNS CHAMPIONS
The 2016 NCAA Women’s Volleyball Championship will be held in Nationwide Arena. The NCAA Semifinals are contested on Dec. 15, followed two days later by the crowning of a national champion on Saturday, Dec. 17, in front of a national television audience on ESPN. Tickets are ON SALE NOW! In addition, volleyball fans can also look forward to the 2017 NCAA Men’s Volleyball Championship which is also being hosted in Ohio’s capital city (St. John Arena — May 4-6, 2017).