Sept. 21, 2012

COLUMBUS, Ohio- The Ohio State women’s volleyball team begins Big Ten play Friday vs. Iowa at 7 p.m. and Saturday vs. No. 3 Nebraska at 7 p.m. For three players, it will be their first experience playing against this level of collegiate competition. The three freshmen have already asserted this place on the squad, becoming significant contributors to the 23rd-ranked team. Katie Mitchell, Jillian Bauer, and Andrea Kacsits, who all hail from out of state, are excited, anxious, and ready to make their mark on the Big Ten conference.

Andrea Kacsits (MB, Rockford, Mich.)
What has it been like getting to know the other freshmen on this team?

“Living with them and playing with them is one of the most fun things I could have ever asked for. We find quirky things about each other all the time. We don’t have any pregame rituals, but we are big into listening to Aaron Carter, Backstreet Boys, and Britney Spears. We blast the music and just dance.”

What has the biggest adjustment from high school to college volleyball?
“Learning the systems has been the most difficult thing. Being disciplined is another one too. You would never guess the little things are the ones that will slow you down and can be extremely detrimental. It’s so hard to break those habits but those are what will make or break you.”

What are your goals this season?
“My goal is to be Big Ten Freshman of the Year just like all the other freshmen, but I have to build to that. Gaining playing time is earned one match at a time. If I earn it for one match, then that’s just one match and that’s behind me five minutes after that match ends and the final whistle blows.  My biggest goal is to be consistent in what I what I want to be doing and in knowing what I can do.”

Jillian Bauer (L/DS, Verona, Wis.)
What are your personal and team goals this season?

“Personally, my goal is to be consistent and to make the team better when I can. When I’m not playing, I try to help be an eye for the players out on the court. As a team, our goal is to win a Big Ten title. I don’t know what that feels like and I don’t think a lot of other girls on the team do either.”

How have the upperclassmen made your transition easier?
“The other liberos and defensive specialists have always been willing to help me with skills and improve. They’re honest with me. We add a defensive energy and that is our responsibility.  We have to be able to get the ball up so the others can put it down.”

What are you looking forward to as Big Ten play begins?
“I am looking forward to the competition of the Big Ten. Every team in the Big Ten is really good. The pace of the game has been quicker in college, but it’s going to be even quicker once Big Ten starts this week. I’m also really excited to play Wisconsin, since that’s where I’m from.”

Katie Mitchell (OH, The Woodlands, Texas)
Describe the team chemistry.

“The team has really accepted us [the freshmen]. The way we are as sisters on and off the court is going to help us fight through the toughest parts of the season.”

Are there any match-ups this season you are particularly excited about?
“I’m obsessed with the Michigan-Ohio State rivalry, so I’m really excited for that match. Playing against other teams with girls we know along with the crazy fans and student sections will be awesome.”

What is like being a student-athlete at The Ohio State University?
“It’s really neat to see other student-athletes who are as motivated as you are and out here to win. In high school, it’s all fun and games, but here it’s serious.”

Note: Freshman Alex Heyn is redshirting this season.