Indiana volleyball will return home to face Northwestern in one of its final home games of the season. To finish off the upcoming weekend of matches, the Hoosiers will then depart to face No. 5 Ohio State in Columbus, Ohio.
The last time Indiana faced an unranked opponent was against Rutgers on Oct. 28, when the Hoosiers beat the Scarlett Knights 3-1.
Northwestern is 17-11 on the season, dropping three straight matches coming into Friday’s matchup. Starring on the Wildcats’ squad is fifth-year libero Megan Miller. Miller leads the Big Ten with 417 digs this season and is an essential piece to Northwestern’s back row.
Alongside the experienced libero is senior outside hitter Temi Thomas-Ailara. She has 431 kills this season, averaging 4.27 kills per set.
Indiana’s second challenger of the weekend will be difficult as Ohio State shares the first-place spot in the conference standings. Ohio State is coming off an impressive win after beating then-No. 4 Nebraska 3-1 last Sunday.
The win pushed the Buckeyes’ winning streak to 14 matches, ensuring the team’s unbeaten record since September.
Ohio State’s roster is filled with veterans, including senior setter Mac Pordraza who has a grand total of 951 kills this season and 11.06 per set. Another contributing factor for the No. 5 team in the nation is fifth-year libero Kylie Murr; being a presence in every set this season, she has 379 kills to her name.
To improve Indiana’s chances of making the post season, the Hoosiers need to win at least one of their two matches this weekend. Senior setter Emily Fitzner shared her insight on how the Hoosiers look to handle this pressure late in the season.
“Those tough pressure situations that we get in when are we in those really big games is very external, but we try to bring it in to just our team,” Fitzner said. “Just to focus on our team.”
Indiana will tip off against Northwestern at 7 p.m. Friday in Wilkinson Hall and will then play Ohio State at 1 p.m. Sunday on the road. Both matchups can be found on BTN+.
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