Andrea Kacsits has a future in volleyball, but it may have nothing to do with her standout play on the court.
Kacsits, a sophomore middle blocker for the No. 24 Ohio State women’s volleyball team, has already started 48 matches for the Buckeyes, including each of OSU’s 20 games this season. She is one of five Buckeyes to record triple-digit kills in 2013 with 113.
Senior defensive specialist Julianne Mandolfo said Kacsits is a unique player.
“She’s one of the hardest working teammates I’ve ever played with,” Mandolfo said. “And the most passionate about everything and what she does.”
Mandolfo called Kacsits a “powerful leader” on the team.
Coach Geoff Carlston said Kacsits is important to the team, on and off the court.
“She’s a great person for our team and our university as a whole and she’s hard working,” he said. “She brings a lot of positivity to our program when it comes to the outside community.”
That hard work and positivity has paid off for Kacsits, as she is starting to get some recognition for her work outside of the university as well.
The Rockford, Mich., native began an internship at Sports Imports over the summer, and has thrived in her new role.
Sports Imports is a sports equipment company specializing in volleyball net systems. Kacsits’ job is to design the top net tape and poll pads for teams ranging from middle school to the collegiate level.
“When you order a top net tape for your net, or you can order pads for the polls, I make those for different colleges, middle schools, high schools (and) sports clubs,” she said.
Kacsits, a communication major at OSU, said teams send in order forms with specific details and she mocks up a design and sends them back to her internship leader. The internship leader then sends the examples back to the coach, who can decide whether or not to go forward with the design.
When the Buckeyes travel to Madison, Wis., Nov. 17, Kacsits and the Buckeyes might get a chance to see her designs in person.
“I did Wisconsin actually,” she said. “So when we go to Wisconsin, if they bought them, I’ll see my pads.”
Sports imports marketing director Meghan Simons, who played for Carlston when he coached at Ohio University, said Kacsits designed the pads for the Side-Out Foundation’s Dig Pink fundraiser and helped design the pads for this year’s NCAA Tournament.
Outside hitter Katie Mitchell, the only other sophomore on the team, said she has her own ideas for what should happen if the Buckeyes make a run in the tournament.
“It would be awesome and I think we should probably politely ask to take (the pads) home afterwards,” Mitchell said. “Having a teammate with that kind of talent and ability is pretty neat.”
While she has since found success, Kacsits wasn’t always on track to pursuing design.
“I started my freshman year in health sciences and I hated it, just, so much,” Kacsits said.
She added that she had done graphic designs for her high school teams and had always enjoyed it. After a conversation with her mother, Kacsits decided she should get back into design.
At that point, she went to Carlston to tell him her plans, and he put her in contact with Simons.
“(Carlston) gave me (Simons’) number and she needed an intern for the summer,” Kacsits said. “She liked my work and we just vibed really well so I got this opportunity.”
Kacsits said her internship is a huge opportunity, especially since she had no job experience going in.
Carlston said it is clear that Kacsits is enjoying herself, but also working hard.
“Andrea is so excited about it, and she’s getting a lot out of it and learning a ton every single day,” Carlston said.
If the Buckeyes want any chance to see designs created by one of their own at the NCAA Tournament, they will first have to fight their way through the rest Big Ten season.
OSU is scheduled to host No. 13 Nebraska Friday at 7 p.m. in St. John Arena after coming off three games on the road.