EUGENE, Ore. - In one of the biggest regular season wins in recent memory, the Ohio University volleyball team (3-0) upset No. 8 Oregon (2-1) in straight sets (25-21, 25-22, 25-19) Saturday night to win the Oregon Classic at Matthew Knight Arena.
The Bobcats posted an excellent all-around effort, with outstanding performances in all facets of the game. Ohio notched 50 kills (16.7/set) to Oregon's 42, held a 48-40 edge in assists and posted a +10 advantage (55-45) in digs.
Sophomore setter Abby Gilleland (Bull Valley, Ill.) was named the Oregon Classic Most Valuable Player after an exceptional outing in which she notched a match-high 36 assists (12.0 assists/set) to go along with eight digs, five kills and two service aces.
Gilleland finished the tournament with 92 assists (10.22/set), 18 digs (2.0/set), 12 kills (1.33/set) and a .385 hitting percentage.
Junior outside hitter Kelly Lamberti (Cary, Ill.) also garnered All-Tournament honors after notching 13 kills and five digs while hitting at a .355 clip. Lamberti notched 34 kills (3.78/set) over the tournament's three matches and added 14 digs and five blocks.
Fellow junior Chelsea Bilger (Fishers, Ind.) added 10 kills and two digs against the Ducks, while graduate middle blocker Alexis Pinson (Phoenix, Ariz.) dominated the net with nine kills on 17 attempts (.471) and added three total blocks. Sophomore libero Meredith Ashy (Louisville, Ky.) played her best match of the season, posting a match-high 22 digs in just three sets (7.3 digs/set) while adding six assists.
Ohio came out aggressive in the first set, notching five kills to take an early 5-1 advantage. Oregon rallied back to tie the set at eight and took a two-point lead at 13-11. The `Cats scored the next two, then enjoyed three-straight kills from Lamberti to go up, 18-15.
A block from Bull and Gilleland gave the `Cats a four-point edge (21-17), but Oregon moved back within one (22-21) on a well-placed ace. From there, the Bobcats closed out the set with three-straight points, capped off by a nicely played kill from Gilleland.
The Bobcats keep the heat on in the second set, jumping out to a 5-3 lead on a kill from Lamberti. Oregon moved ahead at 10-9 on a kill from Canace Finley, but the `Cats jumped back in front by three (15-12) on a kill from Katie Horton.
The Ducks responded with a 6-1 run to re-take the lead at 18-16 and led by three (21-18) on a kill from Alenna Bettendorf. But the `Cats rallied again to tie it on an ace by Gilleland (21-21) and took a two point lead on a block from Pinson and Bilger (23-21). Ohio took two of the last three points to capture set two, 25-22.
Ohio jumped in front 9-4 in set three before Oregon pulled within two (11-9) on a kill from Bettendorf. The Bobcats rallied with three straight - including a kill and block from Pinson - to move back in front by five (14-9) and increased the lead to seven (19-12) after a Ducks error. Oregon cut the Bobcat advantage to two at 20-18, but the Bobcats rallied with five of the last seven points of the match to win the third set, 25-20.
Next up, Ohio makes its home debut Sept. 6-7 at the Bobcat Invitational. The Green & White host Cincinnati (noon) and North Carolina (7 p.m.) on Friday and wrap up the event Saturday against No. 22 Dayton (3 p.m.).
For more information on the Ohio volleyball program, like the team's Facebook page or follow the `Cats on Twitter (@ohio_volleyball) and Instagram (@ohio_volleyball).