ATHENS, Ohio - In a valiant effort Sunday morning, Ohio Volleyball fell to No. 17 Oregon in four sets 21-25, 25-23, 19-25, 18-25. Kelly Lamberti had a team-high 19 kills, hitting .341, with six digs, Leah Petrovich paced the Bobcats with 26 assists and Serena Warner was named to the all-tournament team for her three-day performance.
“I may sound like a broken record but they key for us is to be more consistent at a high level,” Head Coach Ryan Theis said. “I think we started to come out our shell in game two, especially Kelly. I felt today was not about us making mistakes as much as Oregon playing better in games three and four and stringing together very long point-runs. It’s impossible to give a team of that caliber six- and seven-point leads.”
Meredith Ashy surpassed the 100-dig mark for the season with a match-high 14 and Mollie Geske also added 11 for the ‘Cats. Chelsea Bilger finished with nine kills, second on the team, with Lexie Hartnett racking up eight kills and hitting .350. Warner led Ohio with six blocks as the ‘Cats held a 10.0-3.0 advantage in that category. She finished the tournament with a team-high 15 blocks and hit .400 while averaging six kills a match.
“Serena, Faith and Meredith I thought played really well consistently throughout the entire tournament for us,” Theis added. “Once again, I’d like to thank our community for coming out and showing great support for an 11 a.m. game. We are close to showing people how very good we can be.”
Oregon scored the first three points of the match before Ohio came back with three of its own to tie the set. Trailing 7-5, the ‘Cats scored four in a row during the serve of Liis Kullerkann to take the lead. Oregon responded with four-consecutive points to take an 11-9 lead but Ohio tied things up at 12-12. The Ducks would eventually open up a six-point edge before taking the set 25-21.
Ohio trailed 8-4 in the second set before rolling off five in a row to take a 9-8 lead. Oregon took a 15-12 before the Bobcats battled back once more and tied the score with three-successive points. The teams traded points until the score reached 23-23. A kill by Lamberti was followed by a UO attack error and the Green and White had evened the match at one game apiece with a 25-23 victory.
The sophomore finished with seven kills in the set and had 12 kills, hitting .475, through the first two games. As a team, Ohio hit .387 in the second frame. Hartnett had three kills and two big blocks to cancel out Oregon’s aggressive attacking in the set.
With the third set tied 3-3, Oregon went on an 8-0 to take control. Ohio eventually cut the gap to three but it would be as close as the team would get as Oregon won the set 25-19. The Ducks had their best attack percentage of the match, hitting .350, while Bilger had her best set for the Bobcats with six kills.
Another big run by UO turned the fourth set in its favor. With the score knotted 6-6, a seven-point Duck run put them in firm control. An attack error did get Ohio within two at 16-14 but Oregon scored six of seven points during a stretch where it ran the lead back to seven. That would be the final margin as the ‘Cats fell 25-18 and dropped the match in four. Over the final two sets, Oregon hit .338.
Ohio hosts the Bobcat Volleyball Invitational next weekend with matches starting at 10 a.m. on Friday and running through 4 p.m. on Saturday. The Green & White play Niagara at noon on Friday, followed by a match with Belmont at 7 p.m. The tournament closes against former assistant Kyle Weindel’s Montana State club on Saturday afternoon.