Daniel Chi / Asst. photo editor
They might have stumbled out of the gate, but the No. 22-ranked Ohio State women’s volleyball team found its footing during a Big Ten road trip with a 3-1 win at Wisconsin.
After splitting home matches against Iowa and then-No. 3 Nebraska, respectively, the weekend before, the Buckeyes suffered their first conference setback away from home to No. 10 Minnesota, 3-0, on Friday before regrouping to top the Badgers in Madison a day later.
OSU now sits at 11-5 and 2-2 in conference play.
Buckeyes coach Geoff Carlston said getting a win on the road, especially in the Big Ten, is a hard thing to do.
“Win on the road … we’ll take it,” Carlston said. “I mean, you know, you don’t win every match, but there are a lot of teams that went 0-2 this weekend on the road. So for us to come, especially after losing the first one, to respond and turn around playing at a high level against Wisconsin is a big deal for us, for our season. You know, there isn’t a lot of wins on the road in this conference, so when you get one, it’s pretty cool.”
OSU junior defensive specialist Davionna DiSalvatore said she thought the team played an outstanding game against the Badgers.
“We played really well tonight,” DiSalvatore said.
“Our block was great, our defense was really good, and we just like kept it together and pulled out a win tonight.”
In their first game against Minnesota, the Buckeyes challenged the Gophers and pushed one of the top-ranked teams in the nation to the brink. While the Buckeyes lost the match 3-0, they lost by only two points in the first two sets and three in the third set.
“We actually played really well last night in Minnesota,” Carlston said. “It was a lot closer than the score showed, I mean it was 23, 23 and 22, and we were a couple of swings away from really changing the tide of that match.”
Despite the loss, Carlston said the intensity and focus his team brought that night carried over to their next game, which allowed them to take control against the Badgers from the very beginning.
“I think how we carried over that culture we brought in from last night was really good, and carried that into tonight,” Carlston said. “The first two sets we played really well, we were pretty much in control of the match with great passing and played some really good defense in the whole match. We kind of grinded out that fourth set to get that win on the road, so I’m pretty happy.”
Carlston didn’t think that there was anything else he would’ve changed in how they practiced leading up to their first two conference road contests.
“There were stuff in Minnesota where it was just volleyball,” Carlston said. “They made a few plays, and we just didn’t. A lot of the stuff that we worked on this weekend I thought we got better at, so it was more just of that we didn’t quite finish the deal at Minnesota. Luckily, we were able to turn around, finish strong and get a victory on the road at Wisconsin.”
DiSalvatore said it’s important for OSU to be resilient, especially in a tough conference like the Big Ten.
“Being in the Big Ten is kind of a big deal. Every team is very good, there’s always like 10 teams from the Big Ten that make it to the tournament,” DiSalvatore said, “and it’s very, very important for us to come back and always be ready to play.”
The going might not get any easier for the Buckeyes as they hit the road again to travel to No. 21 Illinois and Northwestern on Oct. 5 and 6.