The Eastern volleyball team will be taking on No. 13 Ohio State on Friday at the Oakland Golden Grizzly invitational.
The Buckeyes are off to a strong start and will come to Oakland with an 8-1 record.
The Golden Grizzlies will be hosting Eastern along with Dartmouth, Western Michigan, and Ohio State at this weekend’s invitational.
The Panthers dropped all three of their games against Cleveland, Dayton, and Baylor last weekend.
“Last weekend definitely was challenging,” coach Sam Wolinski said. “We played really good competition, and I think we played well at times and there’s just some things we need to become more consistent at.”
Wolinski added that ball control, serving game, and the hitters being consistent were the main focuses in practice this week.
In terms of rankings, Wolinski said Ohio State will be one of the best teams that Eastern plays all year long.
She added the teams the Panthers played last weekend helped them prepare to play Ohio State.
“It definitely gets us ready for OVC play,” Wolinski said. “We have nothing to lose, they (Ohio State) have everything to lose in terms of playing a team like us and it not going in their favor.”
Western Michigan will be coming into this weekend with a 2-9 record. They have a strong outside hitter who earns a lot of kills for the team.
Dartmouth is 2-3 on the year.
“They have a strong outside and a strong right side,” Wolinski said. “Their right side is actually their go-to, so we have to make sure that we can contain her and know where she is.”
Wolinski added that Oakland’s win-loss record is a bit deceiving. They come into the weekend with a 3-7 record.
Oakland is a team that won their conference last year and attended the NCAA tournament.
The Panthers will have to be prepared for whatever the Golden Grizzlies bring as they are constantly changing their lineup now that they have all their players back.
Eastern was able to get motivation out of their tournament last weekend and are prepared to play well in their last non-conference tournament before OVC play starts Sept. 25.
“We have one more non-conference tournament to get us ready for OVC play, so it’s all about that and taking care of the little things,” Wolinski said.
Wolinski added that it is about refining their skill set but also about refining the mental part of the game as well.
Coming off the losses last weekend, Wolinski said the team has a lot of energy and confidence going into the tournament.
“It’s another chance to celebrate, another chance to play as well,” Wolinski said. “Even though we play Ohio State right off the bat, I think that’s exciting, we get to go out there and see what we’re made of.”
The Panthers’ first match will be Friday against Ohio State at 11 am. They will take on Oakland later that afternoon and Dartmouth and Western Michigan on Saturday.
Ali Kissane can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]