For Taylor Sherwin, some basketball, lacrosse and even a year of swimming were originally mixed in, but volleyball was the sport that stuck.
Sherwin, a junior setter on the No. 13 Ohio State women’s volleyball team, said she picked up the sport in sixth grade at the urging of a friend and never looked back.
“I was originally doing swimming and basketball at the time,” Sherwin said. “I didn’t really even know what volleyball was.”
By the time she arrived at OSU from Orlando, Fla., Sherwin had been named Florida All-State four times, Most Valuable Player of the Year for Lake Highland Preparatory twice and a 2010 first-team Under Armour All-American and Max Preps All-American.
Since arriving in Columbus, the individual accolades have not stopped. Sherwin was named MVP of the NIU Invitational to open the Buckeyes’ 2013 season while also garnering Big Ten setter of the week honors after posting 158 assists in the tournament.
While she has had success early in 2013, Sherwin’s career has seen its ups and downs.
As a freshman, she won the starting job, but finished the year with only 11 starts in 21 matches played.
Sherwin said her misfortune began with a bout of mononucleosis and continued with a concussion not long after her return to the court.
“I got really sick with (mononucleosis) and I was out a while for that and about two weeks after I came back, I got a concussion against Illinois,” Sherwin said. “My freshman year kind of just ended there.”
She said it took a while to get back to her previous form after missing such extensive time and then-senior setter Amanda Peterson claimed the starting job for Sherwin’s sophomore season.
After starting only five matches in her second year, Sherwin said she came into her junior season with a chip on her shoulder and was aiming to play well.
Since being named MVP in Illinois and picking up her Big Ten weekly honor, Sherwin dished out another 136 assists at the Four Points by Sheraton Seminole Invitational as she helped her team improve to 6-0 to start the year for the first time since 2006.
After the Seminole Invitational, coach Geoff Carlston said Sherwin played some of the best volleyball of her Buckeye career.
“Taylor Sherwin’s choices this weekend were as good as they’ve been since she’s been here,” Carlston said.
While Sherwin said she was excited to receive the personal accolades and to put up big numbers, she added that she is more concerned with the team’s success and putting her hitters in the best possible situations.
Senior outside hitter Kaitlyn Leary said in an email that Sherwin has done just that.
“Taylor has worked very hard and it shows,” Leary said. “She has been running the offense well and has been putting her hitters in great situations.”
Leary added that Sherwin is “just fun to play with.”
While Sherwin’s play on the court has meant a lot for the team, she said it has been her leadership that has improved the most.
“That was my main focus (during the offseason), being more of a leader on the court,” she said.
Sherwin said she has embraced her role as the quarterback of the team, and her coaches and teammates seem to agree. Carlston said Sherwin has stepped up in her leadership role as a junior.
Freshman outside hitter Kylie Randall said in an email Sherwin helped her during her debut at the NIU Invitational.
“I settled in when Taylor Sherwin looked at me and said to be ready to go,” Randall said. “Then I knew it was time to make an impact.”
Senior libero Davionna DiSalvatore said in an email Sherwin has worked hard to reach the point she is at today.
“She has become such a great leader and really just has been working hard all preseason to be where she needs to be today,” DiSalvatore said. “She’s really grown as a player.”
DiSalvatore added that a setter has to be vocal on the court and be a leader for the team, two things that Sherwin has excelled at.
“As a setter you have to be a great communicator and lead your team through tough matches and she does exactly that,” DiSalvatore said.
Freshman right side hitter Taylor Sandbothe said in an email that Sherwin welcomed her and her classmates into the team.
“She doesn’t make us feel like freshmen,” Sandbothe said. “She does a good job of leading the team.”
With her days of playing basketball and lacrosse behind her, Sherwin will look to continue on her already impressive volleyball career as the Buckeyes try to climb even higher in the rankings. OSU jumped 10 spots in the American Volleyball Coaches Association Top 25 after the Seminole Invitational.
Sherwin and her teammates will return to the court Friday at St. John Arena for the Sports Imports DC Koehl Classic. OSU is scheduled to play Indiana University-Purdue University at Indianapolis Friday at 7 p.m. before matches on Saturday against Southeast Missouri at 12:30 p.m. and Xavier at 7 p.m.
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