Oct. 15, 2013
EVANSTON, Ill. -- After playing its last four matches on the road, Northwestern returns home this week for the first of three consecutive tilts at Welsh-Ryan Arena, beginning Wednesday night against No. 17 Ohio State.
Northwestern setter Caleigh Ryan was named the Big Ten Freshman of the Week for the second time in her young career on Monday. The Glen Ellyn, Ill., native averaged 11.40 assists per set over the weekend in wins against Indiana and Purdue. The setter helped pilot NU's offense to a .301 attacking percentage against the Hoosiers as five different 'Cats connected for at least eight kills. Ryan set a career high with 67 assists against the Boilermakers and finished that match with nine digs to fall just short of snatching her fifth double-double. It's the second time this season that Ryan has claimed the weekly accolade, joining teammate Katie Dutchman as the program's only multiple-award winners in that category.
Protect This House
The Wildcats have done a good job of winning on their home court at Welsh-Ryan Arena this season. The 'Cats are 7-1 in Evanston this season with the wins coming against Columbia, Belmont, Boise State, South Florida, Miami (OH), IUPUI and Iowa. Northwestern's lone loss came against 12th-ranked Nebraska on Sept. 27. In 2012, NU won just five of its 13 home matches.
Northwestern enjoyed its best Big Ten road trip since 2009 over the past weekend. The 'Cats knocked off both Indiana and No. 20 Purdue in five sets to complete their first 2-0 weekend in Big Ten play since October 30-31, 2009. Ironically, those two wins were also against Purdue (3-2 on 10/30) and Indiana (3-1 on 10/31). Furthermore it was the first time since November 26-27, 2004 that the Wildcats won a pair of five-set matches during a Big Ten trip. Of course, those victories came against Indiana (11/26) and Purdue (11/27).
Going the Distance
After becoming one of the last teams in the country to play a five-set match in 2012, Northwestern checked that off its list on opening night in 2013. This year, decisive sets were required in two of the team's first three matches after going five games only three times all of last season. With Friday night's victory at Indiana and Saturday's triumph at Purdue, the Wildcats have won four five-set matches in one season for the first time since the 2007 campaign.
|Inside Northwestern Volleyball|
Scouting No. 17 Ohio State
2013 Record: 14-4, 2-4 Big Ten, ranked No. 17 in this week's AVCA top 25 coaches poll
Series History: Ohio State leads, 49-19
Last NU win: Nov. 11, 2011 at Welsh-Ryan Arena (3-2)
Last OSU win: Nov. 7, 2013 at St. John Arena (3-1)
Head Coach: Geoff Carlston (Minnesota, '93)
Top Performers: Kaitlyn Leary, Sr. OH (4.93 kps, .237 pct, 2.31 dps); Taylor Sherwin, Jr. S (11.35 aps, 1.94 dps); Taylor Sandbothe, Fr. MB (1.09 bps, 2.42 kps)
Notable: Ohio State's Kaitlyn Leary has been one of the most prolific attackers in the Big Ten this season. The Parma, Ohio, native leads the Big Ten and ranks fourth in the NCAA with 4.93 kills per set. Leary, like Northwestern's Stephanie Holthus, was been named the Sports Imports/AVCA Division I National Player of the Week earlier this season.
To view the complete notes package, please download the PDF at the top of the page.
Be the first to know what's going on with the 'Cats -- Follow @NU_Sports on Twitter, become a fan of Northwestern Athletics on Facebook, subscribe to the NU Sports Express e-newsletter and sign up to receive promotional text alerts for the latest news, schedule updates and video and to interact with NU. For more information on following specific Northwestern teams online, visit our Social Media page!