home jobs contact us
Our Clients:
Browse by Sport
Find us on ASAP sports on Facebook ASAP sports on Twitter
ASAP Sports RSS Subscribe to RSS
Click to go to
ASAP Sports e-Brochure View our


December 8, 2016

Ana Beatriz Franklin

Geoff Carlston

Ashley Wenz

Madison, Wisconsin

THE MODERATOR: For Ohio State, we're joined by Coach Geoff Carlston, sophomore Ashley Wenz and freshman Bea Franklin. Coach, your thoughts?

COACH CARLSTON: Really excited to be here. The Big Ten, being a part of the Big Ten -- and we talked about it a lot today -- just the pride of being part of this conference and then the pride of being part of a great university like Ohio State, and then the pride of being this volleyball team, and me, humbled every day to be their coach.

We've had a blast. It's been an interesting, crazy journey, like usual, but it's a resilient group. We've been through a lot this year. So for us to be here says a lot about them and says a lot about my staff. Yeah, we're excited. We're excited about -- playing tomorrow at 1:00, I think, is exciting. It's unique. It's weird, like our team. So it's something that we're embracing.

The first whistle can't come soon enough. So excited for our university. Excited for this group.

THE MODERATOR: Open it up to questions for the student-athletes.

Q. Ashley, you faced this team twice. It didn't go well either time for you. What's your mindset as you get a third shot at a team that has beaten you twice?
ASHLEY WENZ: I think we're really excited. It's nothing new to us. It's not a new team. It's not a new gym. I think we're really excited to be playing at 1:00. We really embrace kind of the weirdness of that, and we're really good at handling things that are different. So I think just being able to embrace that works to our advantage. So I'm really excited.

Q. For either one of you ladies, how have you guys changed as a group since the last time you faced Wisconsin?
ANA BEATRIZ FRANKLIN: I think everything that we have been through makes us grow as a team. We have a pretty close group. So everything that we face -- he said about having been beaten twice, but I think it just made us stronger. We're super excited to play together again. It's an opportunity to play for our sisters.

ASHLEY WENZ: I agree with everything she just said. I think that just the experience, obviously, of over 20 matches together and just more like the mental side. We've been working on the mental side. So being able to prepare for that. I think just playing together really, playing for our seniors, playing for our team, realizing what we have and what we can do. So just keeping that in mind.

THE MODERATOR: Any other questions for the student-athletes? Ladies, you can go, and we'll take questions for Coach.

Q. So how is your side, and how is Wisconsin different? How are the two teams different from maybe the last time you played each other?
COACH CARLSTON: In all honesty, I think the regular season means nothing. When you get to this point in the Sweet 16, everyone's good. Everyone's playing well. They're playing at a very high level. We won 7 of our last 8. At this point, really, any one of the 16 teams, frankly, could go through.

They're a different team when we played them -- frankly, the last time we played them, both teams played bad. Like they were bad, we were bad at our place. It was probably the ugliest Big Ten match of the year, and they won 3-0, so we were uglier.

But I think at this point, we're a very different team and they're a very different team. Not just tactically, but I think this is going to be about -- you know, I think it's going to be a close match. They're very senior driven. We have a couple seniors. They're very clean. I mean, they played a great weekend last week and made very few mistakes. We're going to have to take it. We're not going to just be given it to them by Wisconsin. That's how they play.

So for us, it's really -- and the Sweet 16, every team's good, and it comes down to who's just going to be able to embrace the moment and handle that moment emotionally the best.

There's things that -- I think Nelson's the most under appreciated player in the country, frankly. She's incredible. She's consistent. Everything she does is just smooth and effective. Across the board, they're a very, very strong team.

So we're going to have to do some really good things to be able to play through, but our team's very grateful for the journey we've been on and appreciative, but I think we're also ready, prepared, and excited for the match.

Q. Along the line of changes, you switched from a 5-1 to a 6-2 along the way. When did that happen? What's the thought process when you do that? And how does that make you different when you're on the floor?
COACH CARLSTON: We changed a lot of stuff when we lost at Indiana. It wasn't about Indiana, but it was just our trajectory wasn't the right way. It wasn't going the right direction. So I had been thinking about it for a while, and at that point, it was like, you know what, let's make a change. Let's give ourselves a different look.

We came into practice, and we said, here's what we're going to do, and we changed our defense. We changed a lot of stuff, and true to form with our team, our team said okay. They bought in with what we're doing. They trusted us. We trust them. We gave them a lot more ownership in terms of how they're going to play the game and a lot more responsibility in the gym for practices, and we pushed them harder, frankly.

We weren't practicing hard enough. We weren't getting after it hard enough. Taylor Hughes is hitting .400 or something like that since we made that change. When you have a kid like that that's dynamic, we felt like it was the right move. Both times we played them, they haven't been at full strength either. So we feel like we're both very different teams since the last time we saw them play.

So I think for us it was just, as a coach, it was like we need to change something because right now we're not playing very well. Since then, I've really, really loved how our team's gone about it and the competitive maturity we've shown. We've always been a close team. This team gets along really well. As a staff and as a team, we trust each other, which is great, but we just needed to tactically and positionally put a little spark into what we were doing.

Q. Coach, when you go back and look at that Kansas State match, what's your favorite thing that you saw out of your team from that?
COACH CARLSTON: There's a play in the fifth set that to me encapsulated everything. It was Madison had been having not a great match, and her first really poor match of her freshman career. They served a ball deep in the fifth set. The ball trickled over. She made a play, didn't let the ball drop like sometimes happens off of a net serve, and Abby, our setter, came in and tiptoed and took the ball out of the net and set the ball outside, and we got the point.

To me, we've been working a lot on just the little things, taking care of the little things, helping your sisters out when things aren't going great. To me, that really encapsulated our team as a whole at that point.

But I think just being able to win -- K-State is a great team, and they play really well at home. We had to fight off -- we had 3,000 people there, so for our team to show that grit and tenacity and those little plays that we've been working so hard at for two months -- early in the season, we frankly weren't very good at. We weren't taking care of the game and playing the game the right way. So that point to me -- and I showed it to our team about ten times, and I said, this is it. This is why we're playing in the Sweet 16. It's this point and all it represents.

Q. Taylor Sandbothe has been a great player for you for four years, one of the elite players in the country. She had a couple of stinker matches against this team this year, maybe two of her lesser statistically. Is it something they did against her or to your team that threw her off on that? I know she's had great matches against them also in the past.
COACH CARLSTON: I mean, the first time we played them was the first match of the year, and she was playing right side, which I thought was a really good idea, and it was horrible. It was a horrible idea. I thought that was the thing to do, and it wasn't. So the first weekend, that's on me.

The second time we played them, it was just a weird match for both teams, honestly. So I don't think it was anything they did. We know that teams are going to -- like K-State, they're going to follow and take -- follow her wherever she goes because she is that type of a player.

The thing about Taylor is she's become an incredible teammate, and you watch the K-State match, statistically, we didn't set her as much as we usually do, but she blocked, she served, she drew a lot of attention and allowed for someone like Lu Lu to have the match of -- Lu Lu is really one of the reasons we're here because she had such a good match, but that happens because Taylor Sandbothe had a really selfless, altruistic match, made some great plays that don't show up on the stat sheet.

I mean, honestly, we have not even watched either of our matches. I didn't watch either of our matches against Wisconsin, and our team has not watched any Wisconsin versus Ohio State matches because we're just -- it's not even -- it's not even a conversation right now because, one, they were very different, we were very different. Two, it's now. We're in the moment right now. This is now, and the past really means nothing to us.

Q. I know you say you're in the moment now, but this is a very similar circumstance to 2014. You played Wisconsin for the third time in the Regional Finals. Do your upperclassmen draw anything from that experience? Not necessarily that particular matchup, but that experience, or do you as a staff draw anything from that experience of playing Wisconsin that third time?
COACH CARLSTON: I mean, I hate to say it, but no. We haven't even talked about it. I kind of actually forgot about it until two days ago just because we really are trying to stay just locked in on this, 2016, this team. A lot of these players weren't there. Most of our players weren't there. And so what that -- maybe to the extent that we can say, hey, yeah, when you get to the Sweet 16, nothing really matters.

It matters where we are right now, and I love where we are as a team. I love where we are as a leader, leadership group. I love where we are. We're finally healthy. We have not been healthy all year. Health-wise, mono, strep throat, flu -- we have had a crazy year when it comes to that, and we're finally -- you know, we're finally pretty healthy the last two or three weeks.

So our players are excited. They trust each other. They trust our staff. They're rested. Yeah, we're just excited. We're excited to play. So all that stuff in the past, we really have stayed focused on our team and what we need to do tomorrow.

Q. What's the most challenging part about facing Wisconsin?
COACH CARLSTON: I mean, they're just -- they distribute the ball really well. You can't focus on any one person. And I think -- like I said, I think Nelson is a stud. She's an absolute stud. I think their ball control is some of the best in the country. I mean, Carlini gets a lot of props, and she should, distributing the ball, but they are a really even keel -- but they're feisty like us. It's interesting. I think the two feistiest teams in our conference are probably Ohio State and Wisconsin, if you talk to people.

I've known Kelly forever. I just think they're competitive, and I think they are, across the board, they just don't make a lot of errors. They don't make a lot of mistakes. You're going to have to go out there and find a way to ride that.

People talk about it's a high risk, we're a high risk team. I guess we are. We want our kids to go for it, so we're going to make some mistakes that maybe Wisconsin and Minnesota aren't going to make, but that's who we are. We aren't going to change that and go, hey, let's keep the ball in play. That's not us. We're going to go for it. If we're going to lose, we're going to lose going for it, and if we win, we're going to win going for it.

But they're just a really good team. They've got some mojo, and they're at home, and they're motivated just like us.

Q. With all the changes throughout the season that you guys have done with this team, how helpful has it been to have a libero like Leon out there to anchor your defense?
COACH CARLSTON: Like Nelson for Wisconsin, she's one of the most underappreciated players in the country. She quietly does her job, especially on the serve receiving. But she's a great leader. When our kids -- we've had Audra out, we've had other kids out out. She's been the anchor for our team defensively.

And not just that, just her voice. She's such an incredible person and just so -- she cares for her teammates so much. She's just an incredible teammate, but she's super driven. We talk about climbing the mountain. We're always climbing the mountain. We're always climbing the mountain, and she's the one at the front of the line. So her leadership has been huge for us, absolutely.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

ASAP sports

tech 129
About ASAP SportsFastScripts ArchiveRecent InterviewsCaptioningUpcoming EventsContact Us
FastScripts | Events Covered | Our Clients | Other Services | ASAP in the News | Site Map | Job Opportunities | Links
ASAP Sports, Inc. | T: 1.212 385 0297