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Ohio State women’s volleyball ready for homestand against Indiana and Purdue

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Senior outside hitter Kaitlyn Leary (11) serves the ball during a match against Michigan Sept. 27 at St. John Arena. OSU won, 3-1. Credit: Mark Batke / Lantern photographer

Senior outside hitter Kaitlyn Leary (11) serves the ball during a match against Michigan Sept. 27 at St. John Arena. OSU won, 3-1.
Credit: Mark Batke / Lantern photographer

A change in mindset might alter the fortunes of the Ohio State women’s volleyball team this weekend.

After dropping eight straight Big Ten matches, junior defensive specialist Alyssa Winner said the Buckeyes have a new focus point going into their next match.

“This new thing we want to do is (win) five points at a time, so five sets of five in each game,” she said.

Freshman middle blocker Taylor Sandbothe said the new outlook can help keep the team from looking too far ahead.

“Kind of keeping the game in sight, not thinking about 25 (the number of points needed to win a set) automatically,” she said. “Thinking about first to five, first to 10 (instead).”

OSU is scheduled to embrace this new philosophy as the team returns to St. John Arena this weekend to host Indiana at 7 p.m. Friday before welcoming No. 14 Purdue at the same time Saturday.

The Hoosiers are one of only two Big Ten teams OSU has bested this season, along with Michigan, and also represent the Buckeyes’ most recent Big Ten victory.

Since beating Indiana in five sets Oct. 5 in Bloomington, Ind., OSU has not won a match. Most recently, the Buckeyes lost to then-No. 14 Michigan State Nov. 1, before dropping a 3-2 decision at No. 17 Michigan Nov. 2.

Senior outside hitter Kaitlyn Leary, who tallied a career-high 31 kills against the Wolverines, said there are still positives to take from the loss.

“There’s a lot we can take from that game, I think we played really well,” she said. “We battled the whole game.”

Leary said the team is getting close to a breakthrough.

“Our team played well, so we’re getting closer to that win that we need,” she said. “(We’ll) just work really hard this week to get that ‘W’ this weekend.”

Junior setter Taylor Sherwin agreed there can be positives taken from the losses in Michigan, but added there is room for growth going forward.

“We just keep growing as a team and keep staying together and fighting on the court with each other,” she said.

Winner said she is excited to be back on the Buckeyes’ home court, especially coming off another road trip.

“It’ll feel really good, since we were away last weekend and we need to get a win,” she said. “Having our fans behind us will be great. It’ll be nice to be back here and not have to travel.”

While the team will have the home support for its matches against Indiana and Purdue, the homestand will be short-lived. The Buckeyes are scheduled to hit the road again next weekend for matches against No. 9 Minnesota in Minneapolis, Minn., Nov. 15 and No. 16 Wisconsin in Madison, Wis., Nov. 17.

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