With its final tournament before the start of conference play, The University of Akron volleyball team will make the short trip to Columbus for the Ohio State Sports Imports Classic on Sept. 16 & 17. The Zips (3-7) will take on Albany (N.Y.) (3-6) at noon ET and Maryland (5-4) at 7 p.m. on the opening day before facing No. 25 Ohio State on Saturday at 11 a.m. All matches will be played at OSU’s St. John Arena.
UA is coming off a tough 0-3 outing at the Milwaukee/Marquette Invitational. The squad dropped the opening match at Milwaukee in four sets and fell at Marquette in three before losing a tight five-setter to Southern Miss. on the final day.
As a team, Akron stands sixth in the league in blocks/set with an average of 1.94 and seventh in digs/set with 13.74. Individually, senior Tina Dimitrijevs’ .367 hitting percentage and 1.00 blocks/set place her sixth in the conference in both categories. Classmate Courtney Jarvis leads the squad with 102 kills and an average of 2.91 kills/set.
The Zips will first take on Albany (N.Y.), the defending America East conference champions who lost in the first round of the 2010 NCAA Tournament to Stanford. The Great Danes are 3-6 this season after sweeping the Rose Hill Classic hosted by Fordham, earning wins over Colorado, Siena and Fordham. Their losses have come to the likes of national power Nebraska, as well as Florida State and Colorado State. This match will mark the first-ever meeting between the two programs.
Maryland will be up next, as the Terrapins are 5-4 this year and are coming off a 2-1 performance at their own tournament, defeating Yale and Delaware and falling in five sets to Sacred Heart. Maryland is 0-1 against MAC teams this season, as Ohio took a five-set victory at the Comcast Lady Vol Classic in Knoxville, Tenn. The Terps lead the series with UA by a margin of 3-1. The two teams have not met since 1999 at Penn State, with Maryland coming away with a four-set win.
Finally, Akron will face in-state rival Ohio State, currently ranked No. 25 in the latest AVCA Coaches Poll. The Buckeyes are 7-3 on the year, with their only losses coming at the Hawaiian Airlines Wahine Volleyball Classic to Hawai’i, UCLA and Long Beach State. Last weekend, OSU claimed the Rocket Invitational title by going 3-0 at Toledo, defeating the host Rockets, as well as Penn and Alabama. The Buckeyes own a 5-0 all-time record over UA, though the two schools have not played since 1999.