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Ohio State hosts volleyball clinic and scrimmage for Association of the Developmentally Disabled

COLUMBUS, Ohio – When former Ohio State football coach Woody Hayes encouraged his players to “pay it forward,” would he have imagined that his message would influence Ohio State student-athletes for decades to come?

Looking for its own way to “pay it forward” and give back to the Columbus community, the Ohio State women’s volleyball team recently held a clinic in St. John Arena to teach members of the Association for the Developmentally Disabled and its Buckeye Connections program and a few volleyball basics.

The student-athletes from the women’s volleyball team, who were recently slated to finish fourth in the 2010 Big Ten coaches’ poll, taught the participants from ADD’s Buckeye Connections how to dig, set and spike a volleyball before hosting a friendly scrimmage and tour of the locker room.

“It was so amazing to be here and everyone really loved it,” Nichele Lyndes, activity advisor at ADD’s Buckeye Connections, said. “You can just tell by the smiles on everyone’s face.

“They all love Ohio State and to meet the athletes means so much to them. The girls were so outgoing and friendly and made it so easy for them to participate. They (the athletes) are great role models and we’re so thankful they let us come.”

But while ADD’s Buckeye Connections were left with a great lasting impression of Ohio State, the student-athletes also walked away with a memorable experience.

“Today was so rewarding I can’t even explain it,” junior Sarah Mignin said. “Seeing the team come together like this was not only a great bonding experience for us, but it showed the quality of girls we have both on and off the court. “

Just one of the many activities head coach Geoff Carlston hopes to take part in during the season, he recognizes the responsibility Ohio State student-athletes have to the community and the benefits it can provide.

“We’re very fortunate on so many levels just to be a part of The Ohio State University and a program like this,” Carlston said. “With life, you never really know what experiences you are going to be dealt, and for us to understand there are a lot of different stories is invaluable.

“It was so great to see the excitement that can come from getting out in the community and connecting beyond our gym. As I watched today, I just went, ‘Wow, we have a neat group of young ladies.’ They are great teachers, great mentors and great ambassadors and I know that our players will walk away with even more than they were able to give.”