COLUMBUS, Ohio – Second-year head coach Geoff Carlston will welcome 16 student-athletes Sunday as the Buckeyes open fall practice Monday. Ohio State returns 10 letterwinners from last season including starters at every position.

“This group is just in a mentally and physically better place than they were a year ago,” Carlston said. “They have come a long way.”

“Our leadership is there. We have a tremendous group of young players coming in and the returning core is motivated. They are ready to do the kind of work necessary to begin building a championship program.”

The Buckeyes begin practice Monday afternoon before departing for a retreat. OSU returns to practice Wednesday evening.

Ohio State opens the 2009 season with four matches at the William & Mary Tournament Aug. 28-29.