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Day 2 - Ohio State Buckeye Invite Preview
Day 2 - Ohio State Buckeye Invite Preview
Published by BeckysTXA
Day 2 - Ohio State Buckeye Invite Preview

The Flyers go 1-1 on day one. After sweeping Miami (OH) for the second time this season, and looking improved, UD drops a 3-1 decision to host tOSU. It was a pleasure to actually “watch” volleyball during the OSU match versus “watching” live stats.

Against Miami, the Flyers came in and dominated the first two sets finishing the match with a season-high team hitting percentage at .390. For most of the match, the Flyers were hitting over .400. The third set was more competitive, but overall this was one of Dayton’s best matches this season. Both offensively and defensively as they had 10.5 blocks in three sets.

Against tOSU, I thought the first set was one of the best sets we’ve played in terms of fighting through adversity. There have been times this season we have been knocked down and we have not gotten back up. In fact, there have been times we’ve just rolled over and played dead. We started the first set down 1-6 after absorbing three aces against us. But we kept fighting and took our first lead at 16-15. The rest of the way, we only had a two-point lead three times (18-16, 19-17 and the final 26-24). After 19-17, the stretch of play was pretty impressive. We gave up three errors, but only once did we fall behind at 23-24. However, that was critical because it gave tOSU their only match point, which we fought off and went on to win the set 26-24, finishing the last two points with an ace and a block.

We hit a blistering .393 percentage in set one, but hit mid-100s the rest of the way. After the first set, our passing broke down and we had trouble terminating balls out-of-system. Additionally, the Buckeyes started feeding their 6-6 right side hitter and we struggled to stop her both cross-court and down-the-line. She took 42 swings, the most by any OSU hitter, and hit .310 for the match. It’s rare your right side OH gets the most swings, usually it’s the left side. But it was working and they kept going back to her. On the flip side, our defense did a nice job on both of their left outside hitters. Combined, they took 60 swings, had 18 kills and 14 errors for a .067 hitting percentage. That’s a great defensive job.

In this Prepare-Play-Learn season, these two matches demonstrated we have made huge improvements defensively-blocking and back row defense-against a left side attack. We position Maura Collins to take a cross-court shot from the left side, which is the high-percentage play. We block against the left attacks with both our middle blockers sliding right to close the block with our right side OH (Rachael Fara in this match) or Brooke Westbeld when she is setting. That was working very well yesterday in both matches. Brooke lead with 5 blocks and Olivia Dubai had 4.

When the attack comes from the right side, Maura is positioned to defend the down-the-line shot and the block is our middles sliding left to block with Alli Papesh or Jamie Peterson. The cross-court attack is defended by Mikaylah VanLanen, Liz House or Bridget Doherty. This part of our defense needs work. At this point in the season, there is plenty of video to study. Expect to see more right side attacks…especially from VCU who does it very well.

Graduate transfer Rachael Fara had a break-out match against tOSU. She took 19 swings with 11 kills and no errors. Many times when we needed a point, we went to Fara and she delivered. For whatever reason, when Jamie Peterson was in the front row, we could not seem to deliver many passes to get her an in-system swing. So we needed another hitter to deliver, and Fara was that hitter in this match. She also played pretty well against Miami putting up 4 blocks. This team needs another big performance by her today against Ill St.

Illinois St - Saturday, September 21 @ 12:00 pm

The first thing you need to know about Ill St is they almost pulled off a trifecta last weekend. They upset #14 Illinois. They beat RV UCF. Then they took #8 Marquette to five set before losing. A great week for a team that was picked to finish second in the Missouri Valley Conference behind No. Iowa in preseason voting. They entered the weekend receiving votes in the AVCA poll.

The second thing you need to know about Ill St, is none of their starters are taller than 6’1”. They go 5’9”, 5’10”, 5’10”, 6’1”, 6’1” and 6’1” across their front line. I haven’t seen them play this year, but I would guess they play a fast offense…a very fast offense. They are lead by the returning MVC Setter of the Year and their 5’9” outside hitter who was 1st team MVC last year. Our block has improved, but this will test the speed of our middle blockers to close on both the left and right sides to stop their offense. Remember over the past couple years when we had 6’1” Kendyll Brown and Amber Erahon…and we fed them quick low sets to beat the block, which was very hard to stop? That’s what I’m betting we will have to defend today against the Redbirds.

Ill St doesn’t have any Top 250 players. Neither were Brown and Erahon and they were both A10 First Team. Coaches build their systems around the talent they have and if you have speed and athleticism you can knock off teams with more talent. When you layer in that Ill St has gone 0-2 so far this weekend, they will be looking to pick up a win making this a tough match. Dayton needs to come out and dominate to head into conference play next week on a roll.

In a year where there have been so many upsets and “almost upsets” against the ranked teams, college volleyball fans are debating on other forums just how much parity is settling into the sport. One fan wrote how happy he was that parity was finally rising to offset the, “…lopsided stockpiling of talent by top-20 teams.” Like others, I wonder how this will all play out when it’s time to hand out Dance cards. Will this be the year the selection committee swings in favor of mid-majors instead of Power 5 teams that didn’t take care of business in the pre-season?

At-large bids make today’s match all the more important for the Flyers. I’d like the Texas AM (8-2) and SMU (7-2) matches back. But both of those teams are playing pretty well right now and will probably make the NCAAs. So Dayton has no “bad” losses. But do we have any “good wins”? Will Michigan make the NCAAs? You have to have a winning record and right now they sit at 6-3 after losing to Notre Dame, who they play again on Sunday. Can they win enough Big 10 matches to stay above .500? Will MO St, No. ILL or Miami (OH) win their conferences? All are struggling, but maybe Miami. Right now it’s looking like KS St at 5-6 may not make the dance. They just lost to Ohio. Today’s match is against a team that was voted to finish 2nd in a conference that traditionally sends two teams to the NCAAs. It’s a good day to show we are learning and moving forward. It’s a good day to show we can put together three dominate sets against a quality opponent who will probably run a very fast offense. It’s a good day for a good win.

Note: Ill St freshman MB Emmy Ogogor at one time was a verbal to Dayton.
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