COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Ohio Dominican volleyball team is set to open its 2019 season this week with four matches in Big Rapids, Mich. at the Ferris State Invitational.
SETTING THE SCENE: The Panthers will be challenged early in the 2019 campaign, as three of their first four opponents qualified for the NCAA Division II National Tournament a season ago. ODU opens the year against the host, No. 12 Ferris State, at 5 p.m., Thursday, Sept. 5. The Panthers then return to action the following morning to square off against Wayne State (Mich.). Capping the week will be two matches on Saturday, Sept. 7, versus New Haven (Conn.) and (RV) Gannon (Pa.).
G-MAC COACHES POLL: ODU was recently predicted by the Great Midwest coaches to finish 12th in league play this fall, receiving 33 points in the preseason poll. However, teams ranked 9-12 were all within 14 points in the preseason prognosis. Defending champion, Hillsdale, and Findlay, accumulated all 13 first place votes and were picked as the preseason favorites with 142 and 135 points respectively.
ROSTER FILLED WITH UNDERCLASSMEN: The Panthers have 16 players on their 2019 roster, with a combined 14 student-athletes labeled as freshmen and sophomores. Highlighting the group is sophomore Amanda Remmetter (Springfield, Ohio), who paced the ODU offense in 2018. Remmetter led the team and ranked fifth in the G-MAC in kills per set, 3.71, while also ranking among the top five in the conference in points per set, 4.16.
RUTTER, YOUNG PROVIDING LEADERSHIP: ODU will have the luxury of two upperclassmen returning in 2019 in senior Allie Rutter (Fostoria, Ohio) and junior Alexis Young (Gahanna, Ohio). Rutter's first year with the Black & Gold in 2018 resulted in 252 digs and 104 assists, to go along with 65 kills and 24 total blocks. Young joined Remmetter up front, where she tallied 3.04 kills per set last season. In two years with the program, Young has 498 career kills.
SCOUTING THE COMPETITION: ODU's four opponents produced a combined 99-27 overall record in 2018, a .786 win percentage. Ferris State, New Haven and Gannon all won their respective conference titles, while also appearing in their regional semifinal matches of the NCAA Tournament. All three finished with at least 26 wins last year, while Wayne State also produced a winning record of 15-13. ODU only faced Gannon in neutral-site competition last fall, falling 3-0.
UP NEXT: The Panthers will continue non-conference invitational play with three matches next Friday and Saturday, Sept. 13 and 14, at Lindenwood (Mo.). ODU is scheduled to face the host and William Jewell (Mo.) on Day Two, after opening the night before against Montevallo (Ala.).
Contact: Tyler Jester