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Women’s volleyball stays close to home for first-round NCAA Tournament match

Cody Cousino / Lantern photographer

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The Ohio State women’s volleyball team will see postseason action for the second straight year after receiving an at-large bid to the 2010 NCAA Tournament.

The Buckeyes will face Atlantic Sun Conference champion Lipscomb (24-6) at 6 p.m. Friday at the Thomas J. Frericks Center at the University of Dayton.

“They’re a very good all-around team,” OSU coach Geoff Carlston said. “They run things very fast, they’re efficient and they don’t make a ton of mistakes.”

Lipscomb is a change of pace from the big, powerful teams the Buckeyes face in the Big Ten.

“They’re a little bit different from the teams we’ve seen because of their speed and how they run their offense,” Carlston said. “They have six or seven just all-around great volleyball players.”

The Buckeyes are going to have to tweak their game plan for a new type of opponent, junior middle blocker Kelli Barhorst said.

“We’re really going to utilize their left side because they are a shorter, scrappier team,” she said. “We’re going to use our power against them.”

The Buckeyes are glad to see the Big Ten gauntlet end but realize that their schedule has prepared them for tournament play, senior outside hitter Katie Dull said.

“Every week in the Big Ten, every game it was like, ‘OK, this is the most important match of the season,'” she said.

With a record of 22-11 and a sixth-place finish in the Big Ten, making the tournament wasn’t a sure thing for the Buckeyes.

Carlston said the selection show was a nerve-racking experience for the team, watching all the schools get picked in front of them before they finally got selected to the last bracket.

“It was a very nervous moment for us,” Barhorst said.

Carlston said the goal heading into Friday’s match is getting the team healthy.

“We’re trying to get everyone healthy this week so we are ready to go at full strength Friday,” Carlston said.

The Buckeyes hope that, with the match being close to home, there will be a swarm of scarlet and gray in the stands.

“We’ve got the band going, we’ve got a bus or two going, we’ve got Block ‘O,'” Carlston said. “You never know who is going to make the road trip.”

If the Buckeyes win Friday, they will advance to play the winner between Horizon League champion Butler (21-9) and Atlantic 10 champion Dayton (27-3) at 5:30 p.m. Saturday.

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