Ohio University volleyball on top in the MAC
By P.J. Gradowski
No one knew what to expect from the Ohio University Volleyball team this season. With a new coach, two new assistants and five new players the high expectations from last season turned into question marks for this season.
The result: a 16-match winning streak that has the Bobcats at 18-3 overall and 9-0 in the MAC. The team is currently listed No. 30 in the nation in the latest American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA)/USA Today Poll, making it the first year Ohio University has received votes. The Bobcats have won two tournaments, posted a win over then No. 23 Missouri for their first victory over a top-25 team and are unbeaten on the road posting a 10-0 record.
The Bobcats return home to the Convocation Center where they will end the season playing five of their last seven matches before the MAC tournament begins.
Ohio University will host two MAC foes this weekend, Bowling Green State University on Friday and the University of Toledo on Saturday, both at 7 p.m. The Halloween weekend will feature prizes for costumes as well as youth day on Halloween Friday and a time to remember the past as Ohio University welcomes back volleyball alumni for Saturday's contest.
"It is always great to see fans at the games supporting us," says star player Laura Hageman. "They have been great so far but we would love to pack the Convo and really show the MAC what we are all about here."
"We have had a great season so far," says first year coach Geoff Carlston. "We are really starting to change the history here and that is what we want to do."
History really may be a thing of the past. The Bobcats are destined for their second straight 20-win season and fifth overall in their 35-year history. They have already clinched a winning MAC record.
"Our goal is to win the MAC tournament," says Carlston. "We are very pleased with everything that we have done so far but we are still taking everything day by day so we can win the MAC tournament and get an NCAA bid."
Like all successful teams, Ohio University has a great mix of youth and senior leadership, depth and star players. At the front of the list is Hageman, a senior middle blocker.
Hailing from Cleveland, Hageman has been named MAC East Division Player-Of-The-Week five times so far this season. She was recently awarded with the Sports Imports/AVCA National Division One Player-Of-The-Week honor. She was named to all four All-Tournament teams this season bringing home two MVP's. Hageman is Ohio University's all-time leader in total blocks and assisted blocks. She is third in kills and fourth in digs.
Junior Briana Adamovsky is another Ohio University leader, hailing from Solon, Ohio. She has run the offense with precision all year, averaging 12.96 assists per game. She has also played great defense, recording 2.61 digs per game and .93 blocks per game. Adamovsky is third on the all-time assist list with 2,813, trailing second place by only 135 assists.
The guts and dedication of the team are best displayed by red shirt sophomore Holly Schetzsle. Two years ago, while playing at Tennessee, she took a medical redshirt after injuring her shoulder. She then transferred to Ohio University and missed the first 10 games of the 2002 season while recovering from a torn anterior cruciate ligament. This season, she has a partially torn medial collateral ligament but nothing has stopped her from hitting the court each match, averaging 3.81 kills per game.
P.J. Gradowski is a sports information assistant with the Ohio University Department of Intercollegiate Athletics.