Ohio State’s women’s volleyball kicked off the season with a sweep over Northern Kentucky Friday at Nationwide Arena in the Sports Imports Classic.
The Buckeyes’ (1-0) victory came from their middle attack, team consistency and dominant blocking throughout the match.
“They were focused and there were some nerves certainly, but they responded well,” head coach Jen Flynn Oldenburg said. “This is a game where we can set the tone for this new group.”
The Buckeyes blocking helped them dominate the first set with a 25-10 win. Freshman middle hitter Arica Davis had a strong start to her career, leading the team in blocks with two-and-a-half blocks in the opening set.
The Norse (0-1) came out fighting in the second set with tough serving and some blocks of their own. Senior outside hitter Anna Brinkmann and redshirt junior middle hitter Abby Kanakry led the Norse with two blocks each.
However, the Buckeyes rallied with strong defense to win the second set 25-18. The reigning AVCA National and Big Ten Freshman of the Year, sophomore opposite hitter Emily Londot, got in on the action in the second set with two kills and three blocks.
The Buckeyes closed out the match with a 25-14 victory. The Buckeyes’ middle hitters played a vital role in the teams success with Davis finishing with six kills and 13 blocks, which tied the three-set single match record for most total blocks. Sophomore middle hitter Rylee Rader finished the match with eight kills and three blocks.
“We have been working in the gym all summer, so the work I put in I knew would show on the court. So I just wanted to come out here and be my best self,” Davis said. “Our team motto this year is ‘remember why;’ remember why we do the reps, remember why we are in the gym all time, remember what our goal is and where we’re trying to get to.”
After an unexpected breakout season last year, the Buckeyes are bringing last year’s excitement into the upcoming season, but they’re not spending too much time looking back at the past, Oldenburg said.
“Last year we were the underdog, but this year teams are going to take us more seriously, so I don’t think it’s fair to our newcomers to focus on last year,” Oldenburg said. “This year we have new goals and a new motto, so I expect us to play hard.”
Ohio State will play No. 4 Washington at 7 p.m. Saturday at Nationwide Arena on BTN+.