It’s Michigan week for the No. 20 Ohio States women’s volleyball team (14-6, 5-3) as it’s scheduled to face Michigan State and Michigan this weekend.
While many fans might associate Michigan with the football rivalry, the women’s volleyball team approaches the matchup the same way in their sport, senior defensive specialist Alyssa Winner said.
“We came in here on Monday and we were all saying it was Michigan week,” Winner said. “It’s big for us and it means a lot to the school too.”
And while the games this weekend have meaning to the team, they also have some personal significance for junior middle blocker Tyler Richardson, a native of Ypsilanti, Mich., which is about a 20 minute drive from the Michigan campus.
“My dad graduated from Michigan, so he’s really pumped up about seeing this game,” Richardson said. “My aunt graduated from (Michigan) State, so both (being near) my hometown area (is) really exciting for this weekend.”
The Spartans (12-7, 5-3) are led by senior libero Kori Moster, a native of Cincinnati, who is third in the Big Ten in digs per set with 4.45, and the Big Ten Freshman of the Week in setter Rachel Minarick, who is seventh in the conference with 10.02 assists per set.
The Wolverines (10-8, 5-3) are led by back-to-back Big Ten Player of the Week sophomore middle blocker Abby Cole, who is second in the conference with a .418 hitting percentage, fourth in points with 4.24 per set and fifth in kills with 3.57 per set.
Coming off a 1-1 road trip in Indiana, OSU junior outside hitter Elizabeth Campbell said the team struggled to find consistency, but added if the Buckeyes are consistent against the Spartans and Wolverines, they can pull out both wins.
She added that because the team only plays the Spartans once this season, it adds meaning that the team wants to make a statement.
“Obviously with the rivalry, that’s really exciting,” Campbell said. “Just to be able to bring in all the fans … just to play some good volleyball from both sides, I think that will be able to represent (both) schools and the rivalry and competiveness.”
The Buckeyes are scheduled to play the Spartans on Friday at 7 p.m., followed by the Wolverines on Saturday at 5:30 p.m. Both matches are set to be played at St. John Arena.