ATHENS, Ohio - Ohio Volleyball dropped its first game of the 2012 Baymont Invitational this evening to No. 10 Kentucky in four sets, 16-25, 16-21, 25-21, 21-25. Kelly Lamberti notched another double-double with a match-best 18 kills and 11 digs while classmate Chelsea Bilger racked up 10 kills, six digs and four blocks.
"We missed some opportunities late in the second set and that could have been big for us, so that was disappointing," Head Coach Ryan Theis said. "I was thrilled with our crowd tonight and I appreciate the support. With the usual terrific community turnout and student showing, we probably had over 3,000 people here tonight to watch us play."
Lamberti and Bilger led the squad in kills with freshman Abby Gilleland finished with 36 assists. Gilleland and Lamberti each surpassed 10 digs with Meredith Ashy finishing with a team-high 13 digs. Serena Warner once again led the team in blocks with six.
Kentucky jumped out early, scoring the opening four points and forcing an Ohio timeout. UK's pressure did not stop following the break as the Blue and White stretched its lead to as many as eight at 16-8. UK capped the set with a 25-16 victory
Ohio earned an early advantage going up as many as six in the second set, 11-5, but a four-point run by Kentucky got it right back in the set. The Bobcats still led by three at 16-13 before UK evened things with a three-point rally. The Wildcats eventually went ahead by two at 19-17 and won the set 25-21.
The Green and White scored six of the first seven four points in the third set and never looked back. Ohio led by as many as seven before UK made a little rally. However, a kill by Bilger quelled the attempt as the 'Cats took the set, 25-21, and got back in the match.
"I thought Liis came in and served us to two great runs in the third and fourth sets," Theis added. "I thought Chelsea and Serena turned in solid all-around performances as well. But, we're just committing too many small mistakes that are adding up to cost us matches. The ceiling of this team is something I’m extremely excited about and if we get over this hump, we can really be something special."
In the fourth set, Ohio took a 7-6 lead on a kill by Faith Robins. However, the Blue and White responded with a four-point run to take a 10-7 advantage. The deficit would swell to seven at 17-10 before the Bobcats' determination took center stage.
An 11-5 run pulled Ohio within one as Lamberti notched, what would be, her final kill of the night. With the Convo rocking, Kentucky proved why it is the No. 10 team in the land with a four-point run to win the set and the match, 25-21.
The Baymont Invitational continues tomorrow at 1 p.m. with Kentucky vs. Oregon. The Bobcats are slated to play at 3 p.m. against Western Carolina and UK will play WCU in the nightcap at 8 p.m.