All this week, LGHL writers will be bringing you articles inspired by their favorite Ohio State records. Check out all of our “Broken Records” thoughts throughout the week HERE. Whether you agree or disagree, let us know what you think in the comments below and on Twitter @Landgrant33.
When Ohio State women’s volleyball returns this fall, they’ll be coming off of a season that started with a 12-match win streak and ended with their first appearance as a regional semifinalist in the NCAA Tournament since 2016.
Their season-ending loss to Florida in four sets wasn’t the result that they hoped for, but in a year riddled with changes due to COVID, the Buckeyes still had much to be proud of.
And fortunately for Ohio State, theirs was a relatively young team. Stars like opposite hitters Vanja Bukilic — a rising senior who spent part of the off-season playing with the Serbian national team — and Big Ten Freshman of the Year Emily Londot, among several others, will be back with even more experience under their belts.
So could this upcoming year be a record-breaking one for this group of women? With such a strong showing last year and so many top players set to return next season, I certainly think it could be.
I have my eye on one school record in particular for these Buckeyes: Best Winning Percentage in One Season. The current record, set in 1994, is a winning percentage of .906 (the 1994 team went 29-3).
Breaking this record is admittedly a lofty goal, but if OSU brings their A-game, they have the pieces they need to do so. Go big, or go home, right?
In order to pull this off, the Buckeyes will need to be nearly perfect. But if we look to last season and trust head coach Jen Flynn Oldenburg to help them dig deep during the tough moments, the signs show that this team could have what it takes.
B1G things happening this fall‼️ Go Buckeyes pic.twitter.com/zR9GxNKCHa— Ohio State Women's Volleyball (@OhioStateWVB) June 11, 2021
Their 12-0 start to kick off last season shows they can go on long undefeated runs without losing focus on the game. The returning players will be hungry for more of the same this year, and after their fight against Florida in the tournament, they’ll hopefully have further developed the grit it takes to fight for wins in sticky situations. They’ll need this if they’re going to break the win percentage record.
They’re also absolutely capable of pulling off upsets in underdog situations. Twice last season, they upset No. 10 Penn State, the first time OSU had done so since 2001. Their win at Rec Hall was the team’s first since 2004. No one expected them to beat Penn State twice, but this is a team with heart, and though a few of the pieces will look different this coming season, you can expect that they’ll bring that same determination to the court.
Their toughest challenge this past season came against Purdue, who they will face once in September and once in October this coming year. These matches were always close though, and with something to prove, look to the Buckeyes to pull off these wins next year.
While Ohio State certainly has the talent, determination, and grit to put up big stats, the real key to breaking the Best Win Percentage record is consistency. They have to play at a high level with very few mistakes in all their matches.
But when you look at the stats from last season, consistency was in many ways the keys to OSU’s success. Even in their loss against Florida, the Buckeyes put up high numbers. Both Londot and outside hitter Gabby Gonzales, who is also returning this season, recorded double-doubles. The handful of matches they lost throughout the season were close ones and had a few points played out differently, could easily have swung in OSU’s favor.
If they can build on what they accomplished last year, look to this year’s Buckeyes to go on another long undefeated streak and possibly even walk away with the Best Win Percentage in school history.