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Ohio Edged In Five Sets By No. 24 North Carolina

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OHIOBOBCATS.COM Gilleland led Ohio with a match-high 43 assists and added a career-best nine kills for Ohio.
Gilleland led Ohio with a match-high 43 assists and added a career-best nine kills for Ohio.

Sep 6, 2013

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ATHENS, Ohio - The Ohio University volleyball team (4-1) dropped a five-set thriller to No. 24 North Carolina (25-23, 25-16, 18-25, 22-25, 8-15) before 3,874 fans Friday night in Ohio's second match of the Baymont Inn Invitational.

The Bobcats put forth their best blocking effort of the season and held a +9 edge (19.0-10.0) over the Tar Heels. But North Carolina held a 69-60 edge in kills and limited Ohio to a .038 clip in the deciding fifth set.

"I thought UNC did a great job declaring they were going to stop our middles after the second set," head coach Ryan Theis said. "This team is pretty resilient. Tomorrow, I want us to prove that we're able to recover from a tough loss and get a win the next day."

Sophomore setter Abby Gilleland (Bull Valley, Ill.) continued to shine for Ohio, notching a match-best 43 assists while adding six digs and a career-best six total blocks. Gilleland also notched a career-high nine kills and hit at a sizzling .529 clip.

Graduate middle blocker Alexis Pinson (Phoenix, Ariz.) supplied her usual tenacity at the net, knocking down a match-high 14 total blocks, the most by a Bobcat in more than four seasons. Pinson also tallied a team-high 13 kills and hit at .409 for the match to record her first double-double in an Ohio uniform.

Junior outside hitter Kelly Lamberti (Cary, Ill.) also registered a double-double with 19 digs and 11 kills while adding four total blocks. Sophomore middle blocker Karin Bull (Bloomington, Minn.) added 11 kills and five total blocks, while sophomore libero Meredith Ashy (Louisville, Ky.) led the Bobcat back line with a team-high 20 digs.

Two kills from Bull to start the first set got the capacity crowd rocking in the Convo. The Bobcats remained in front by two at 10-8, before the Tar Heels responded with four-straight points to take a 12-10 lead.

After the Tar Heels extended the edge to three (15-12), Ohio rattled off three-straight to tie it at 15. A kill from Lamberti put Ohio back up by one (18-17), but North Carolina notched five of the next seven points to go back in front by two (22-20). The Bobcats went on a 3-1 run to re-take the lead, and a strong kill from redshirt junior Liis Kullerkann (Keila, Estonia) set up match point for the Bobcats (24-23). An attack error from UNC ended the well-played opening set, and Ohio snared an early 1-0 lead.

The Bobcats made it two-for-two after an outstanding second set in which the team hit .500 (15-1-28) and knocked down 15 kills. Ohio jumped out to a 9-7 lead in the frame, and used a 6-0 run midway through the set to build an eight-point lead (18-10). A kill from Pinson put the Bobcats up by nine (22-13) and Ohio cruised to a 25-16 win in set two.

The Tar Heels came storming back in the third frame, racing out to a 9-5 lead. After Ohio cut it to two (10-8) on a kill from Bull, UNC built a five point-lead at 15-10, then extended it to eight (19-11) on a service ace from Abigail Curry. Ohio moved back within six (19-13) on another kill from Bull, but Ohio could not move any closer for the remainder of the set, as North Carolina took the frame, 25-18.

UNC started the fourth set in similar strong fashion and took a 12-8 lead early in the frame. After Ohio cut the lead to three (16-13), the Tar Heels responded with a 4-1 mini run to extend the edge to six (20-14). Ohio cut the lead to three (21-18) after a kill from Gilleland, but UNC held on to take set four, 25-22.

Behind the serving of Jordyn Schnabl, the Tar Heels grabbed a 5-1 lead in set five. The `Cats cut it to three (6-3), but UNC posted the next four scores to go up by seven (10-3). UNC would go on the win the fifth set, 15-8.

The Bobcats wrap up competition in the Baymont Inn Invitational Saturday at 3 p.m. against the University of Dayton (3-2).