Courtesy of Ohio Athletic Communications
ATHENS, Ohio - The Ohio University volleyball team (27-5) opens the 2013 NCAA Tournament with a first round battle against 20th-ranked Michigan State (21-11) on Friday at 5 p.m. in Lexington, Ky.
The Green & White are making their ninth all-time NCAA Championship appearance and first since 2010. Ohio is a perfect 9-0 in neutral site matches this season.
OHIO ALL-TIME IN THE NCAA TOURNAMENT
The Bobcats hold a 5-8 all-time record in NCAA Tournament action. Ohio reached the second round in consecutive seasons under head coach Ryan Theis in 2009 and 2010 and has earned a berth four total times during Theis’ tenure. Ohio reached the NCAA Sweet 16 during the 2005 campaign.
SCOUTING THE SPARTANS (21-11, 10-10 Big Ten)
Michigan State is ranked No. 20 in this week’s AVCA Coaches Poll. The Spartans finished seventh in the Big Ten with a 10-10 league record after opening the season with an 11-1 non-conference mark. Michigan State took down five ranked teams in 2013, including then-No. 1 Penn State on Sept. 27 in Happy Valley.
The Spartan offense is led by All-Big Ten outside hitter Lauren Wicinski, who ranked third in the league with 4.45 kills/set while hitting at a .249 clip. Junior libero Kori Moster was named the conference’s Defensive Player of the Year for the second-straight season after leading the Big Ten with 4.65 digs/set in 2013. Senior Alexis Mathews paced the team with 1.52 blocks/set and hit a team-high .402 on the season.
MAC TOURNAMENT RECAP
The top-seeded Bobcats swept all nine sets in the 2013 MAC Tournament in November en route to the eighth championship in program history. Ohio also won its eighth MAC regular season title in 2013, capturing both the regular season and tournament titles for the sixth time in school history. Sophomore libero Meredith Ashy (Louisville, Ky.) was named the MAC Tournament MVP after averaging 5.3 digs/set, while junior outside hitter Kelly Lamberti (Cary, Ill.) garnered MAC All-Tournament honors.
PINSON APPROACHING A NUMBER OF BLOCKING MILESTONES
Graduate middle blocker Alexis Pinson (Phoenix, Ariz.) is putting together one of the finest seasons at the net in program history. She now ranks third in block assists (148) and t-4th in total blocks (161) on Ohio’s single season records list.
If Ohio wins Friday's first round matchup, the Bobcats will advance to the second round and take on the winner of the match between No. 15 seed Kentucky and A-10 Champion Duquesne. The second round match will be played Saturday at 7 p.m. in Lexington.