Daniel Chi / Asst. photo editor
They may be nothing quite like sweeping a mid-season tournament to keep momentum rolling for the Ohio State women’s volleyball team.
OSU (5-1) took the Maryland Invitational tournament by storm, defeating both Binghamton and Seton Hall, 3-0, before clinching a tournament sweep in come-from-behind fashion by defeating Maryland, 3-2, on Saturday. While the Buckeyes swept their first two matches over the weekend, they struggled early in its third match against Maryland. The Terrapins took the first two sets, but the Buckeyes fought back and eventually won.
“After the (first) game, everyone was just kind of frustrated, but we wanted to stay optimistic and be fired up,” senior outside hitter Emily Danks said. “We realized that we are in this for the long haul and that this game wasn’t over. We weren’t going to go down without a fight.”
OSU coach Geoff Carlston said he understood that trailing on the road isn’t an easy obstacle to overcome. So, when his team refocused its energy in the last three sets, he said he was very proud of the way it handled adversity.
“It takes a lot of energy and a lot of concentration to come back down 0-2 on the road,” Carlston said. “It’s not easy to do. I’m very, very happy for our team that we were able to come back.”
Danks, senior outside hitter Mari Hole and junior defensive specialist Davionna DiSalvatore were named to the all-tournament team, with Danks being named the tournament’s Most Valuable Player.
“Emily was a stud tonight, an absolute stud,” Carlston said. “Mari also played very well for us tonight. They are our senior leaders. They are the ones who we look to, who the team looks to and they’re vital. If they don’t play or keep their head up, there is no way we come back and win tonight.”
Danks and Hole said they were honored by their awards, but gave most of the credit to their teammates.
“Oh yeah, it was a huge honor, there were a lot of talented players at this tournament,” Danks said. “I’m so proud of this team, I can’t even tell you. I look around at every player and I wouldn’t pick anyone else to be on my team in terms of talent, leadership and work ethic.”
“It’s always an honor to be recognized,” Hole said. “This is a confidence booster to our team because three of us got recognized, and without our teammates, we wouldn’t have gotten this honor.”
Danks had 24 kills to lead all attackers against Maryland, which is a career-best, and contributed three blocks and eight digs. Hole had 13 kills and 13 digs, as she recorded her first double-double of the season.
Next weekend, the Buckeyes will compete in the Western Kentucky Tournament, where they will face in-state rival and No. 10 Dayton, along with games against IUPUI and host Western Kentucky.
Hole said the team’s 5-1 start gives it confidence for its upcoming tournament and the rest of the season.
“We all know that Coach scheduled a tough season because we are such a strong team,” Hole said. “So coming up with such a great start and getting this fifth win is such a confidence booster.”
Danks also credited the team’s success because of the Buckeyes’ bench, which consists of sophomore middle blocker Anna Faul and freshman outside hitter Katie Mitchell.
“We had great help off the bench, and they set the world on fire when they came into the game,” Danks said. “It just kind of shows how good our team is with so much depth at every position.”