Daniel Chi / Asst. photo editor
Big Ten play officially started on Friday for the No. 23 Ohio State women’s volleyball team and coach Geoff Carlston was not happy with one of the weekend’s results.
OSU opened up their conference schedule against Iowa, and than played No. 3 Nebraska on Saturday.
The Buckeyes started their weekend on a strong performance against Iowa, as they defeated them 3-0, but couldn’t keep the energy going against No.3 Nebraska, losing 3-1. The Buckeyes are now 1-1 in the Big Ten and 10-4 overall.
At the beginning of the game against the Cornhuskers, OSU drew first blood as the Buckeyes went right at the Huskers and took control by winning the first set.
“That first set we came out strong, it was just an electric atmosphere,” said senior setter Amanda Peterson. “We had so many fans here, it was pretty inspiring to have the entire Buckeyes Nation behind us and we got off to a really good start right off the bat.”
After the Buckeyes won the first set, the dynamic of the game quickly changed, as Nebraska came back with a strong counter and never looked back.
“After that, from that second game on, we started making some mistakes at the wrong times, and just never really quite got back on top,” Peterson said.
Carlston said one thing about the difference between the first set and the other three sets against Nebraska stood out to him.
“We stopped being aggressive,” Carlston said. “Our tempos were fast, our serving was aggressive, we were hitting the ball hard, and that was a huge part of what we wanted to do. We wanted to set the ball outside at a really fast tempo and we did it, and it was successful. For an unknown reason to me, we stopped doing that.”
Carlston also mentioned that their serves were also easier in the last three sets.
“We set the ball higher, we served the ball easier, and you can’t serve as easy as we served for the last three sets and beat a team like Nebraska,” Carlston said.
Even though Nebraska started to play better and be the more aggressive team, the Buckeyes made some untimely errors and hurt their chances of making a comeback.
“We made a lot of service errors, and just collectively, we made a lot of errors as a group,” said junior outside hitter Kaitlyn Leary. “No one personally made a lot of errors, just like in clutch moments there’s collectively a lot of errors and we didn’t execute as well as we wanted to.”
During certain parts of sets two, three and four, there were times the team seemed low on energy and could not keep up with Nebraska.
“We talked about that as a group because we did feel that our energy was dropping,” Leary said. “To pick up the energy, we just tried connecting with each other, and we just couldn’t get out of the rut that we were in. Everyone was working hard, but we weren’t executing during the times when we needed to execute.”
With the loss, Carlston was disappointed in how his team competed at times during the match and said that they need to get better.
“Yeah, I mean, we have to get better in the gym everyday and in practice,” Carlston said. “Really disappointed in terms of how we competed at times tonight.”
More importantly, however, Carlston said he wants this team to believe in each other and believe in themselves.
They need to think of themselves as equals with the “jersey on the other side of the net,” he said.
“(They need to know) that they belong there and that they’re just as good,” Carlston said.
Carlston also said that in the Big Ten conference, nothing will be given to them and they will have to take what is theirs.
“They need to fight in battle, kick and scratch because this conference, you got to take it,” Carlston said. “No one is going to give you anything, you just got to take it. You got to roll up your sleeves, battle and be warriors all the time.”
Despite the tough loss, the team is ready to move on and learn from their mistakes.
“You always learn more from your losses than from when you win,” Peterson said. “So we know what we have to work on now and be ready to come out and practice on Monday, working on things that maybe broke down a little bit during this match.”
Peterson said the way her teammates were able to hang with a high-ranked opponent shows that they can become really good if they keep up the hard work.
“We hung with the No. 3 team in the nation, so I think that says a lot about our potential,” Peterson said. “If we can keep up the work that we did in the first game (Iowa), I think we’re going to be in a really good spot this year.”
OSU will continue their Big Ten play on the road against No. 12 Minnesota on Sept. 28 and Wisconsin on Sept. 29.