The Ohio State Women’s Volleyball team opens the 2017 season in Provo, Utah in the BYU Tournament this Friday the 25th. They are scheduled two matches – the first at 12:00 pm against The University of Texas of Rio Grande Valley (UTRGV). An encore will be played at 7:30 pm. against Saint Louis University. On Saturday, the 26th, they will meet up with the host team, BYU, at 9:30 pm.

The Lady Buckeye’s in the 2016 season finished the year with a 22-13 overall record. They were 10-10 within the Conference, 10-3 at Home, 4-9 Away, and 8-1 Neutral.

The returning members from last year’s squad will be: Senior’s – Luisa Schirmer, Outside Hitter; Ashley Wenz, Outside Hitter; Kalisha Goree, Defensive Specialist. Junior’s – Taylor Hughes, Setter; Audra Appold, Outside Hitter; and Sophomore’s – Madison Smeathers, Middle Blocker; Brooke Bailey, Outside Hitter; Camry Halm, Defensive Specialist; Bia Franklin, Outside Hitter.

The new faces on the Buckeyes 2017 squad will be: Becca Mauer, Setter, out of Jersey Village High School in Houston, TX; Hannah Gruensfelder, defensive Specialist, from Saint Joseph’s Academy of Weldon Spring, MO; Megan Carr, defensive Specialist, a transfer out of Butler University; Ayanna Swan, Outside Hitter, out of Mills E. Goodwin High School, Richmond, VA; and Lauren Witte, Middle Blocker, from Lake Catholic High School, Mentor, OH.

The huge loss of Taylor Sandbothe, Middle Blocker will be noticed as you can see below, her career as a Buckeye was impressive times infinity:

Career:

• Finished her career as Ohio State’s all-time leader with 564 total blocks

• Also, ranked Top-20 in the following categories: 455 block assists (1st), 109 solo blocks (2nd), 1.13 blocks/set (2nd), 1,914.5 points (4th), 1,498 kills
(5th), .304 hitting percentage (6th), 3,348 total attempts (8th), 3.84 points/set (14th) and 3.01 kills/set (19th)

• First Team AVCA All-America (2015)

• Second Team AVCA All-America (2016)

• AVCA All-America honorable mention (2014)

• AVCA All-Region (2014, 15, 16)

• Unanimous All-Big Ten First Team selection (2015, 16)

• Ohio State Offensive Player of the Year (2015, 16)

• All-Big Ten honorable mention (2014)

• Big Ten All-Freshman Team (2013)

In Her 2016 (Senior) Season:

• Started all 35 matches, playing every single set

• Paced the team with 622 points, 506 kills and 144 total blocks (20s, 124a)

• Also, posted a .315 hitting percentage, 108 digs and 34 service aces

• AVCA National Player of the Week (Oct. 4)

• Big Ten Player of the Week (Aug. 29, Oct. 3)

• Named to the all-tournament team at the North Texas Challenge (MVP as well), Dr. Mary Jo Wynn Invitational and Ball State Active Ankle Challenge

• Ranked sixth in the Big Ten with 3.83 kills per set

• Set Top-20 marks in Ohio State history with season totals of 144 total blocks (T-4th), 124 block assists (4th), 622 points (8th), 506 kills (T-15th) and 1.09 blocks/set (20th)

• Responsible for 10 or more points in all but three matches, including a season-high 32 tallies in a win over No. 16 Texas A&M and a dozen outings with 20-plus points

• Capped her career with a double-double (13 kills, 10 blocks) at No. 4 Wisconsin in the NCAA `Sweet 16,’ marking her 29th double-digit kill effort and 14th contest with five or more blocks

• Became a weapon from the service stripe, connecting on multiple aces in 10 different matches.

The loss was, indeed, big.

But Taylor Hughes, Luisa Schirmer, Madison Smeathers,, and Audra Appold will still hold a clinic of superior play to witness – be assured.

The Lady Buckeyes open this season ranked in the top 25 – @ 21. What is a commanding note to mention here is that the Big Ten holds eight spots in this top 25 rankings list. The Buckeyes, naturally, will play each of them: Minnesota (@4), Nebraska (@5), Penn State (@6), Wisconsin (@7), TTUN (@16), *ichigan State (@17), and Purdue (@25).

This season will be fun. The evidence is in both the schedule and the new faces on the roster. I, as a fan, will expect great things from Audra Appold, Taylor Hughes, Madison Smeathers, and Luisa Schirmer. These ladies have proven their talents in the seasons past, and will unfoundedly, not disappoint. The new faces of Megan Carr, Ayanna Swan, and Becca Mauer will excite the fan base as well.

I personally look for this team to do well in the 2017 season. Keep in mind the strong Conference play they will be facing. As I see it, the Big Ten will beat up on one another, but be dominant outside of the Conference. The Buckeyes will be participants in that give and take within the Conference battles too, be assured.  Look for some surprises from this group.

GO BUCKEYES