ATHENS, Ohio - Ryan Theis earned his 100th win at Ohio as the Bobcats swept through their own tournament with a straight-set victory over Montana State on Saturday, 25-18, 25-18 and 25-22. Kelly Lamberti was named MVP and Lexie Hartnett was named to the All-Tournament team.
“It’s 100 wins for Ohio, the program,” Theis said. “I really like this team and love this place and that’s what makes it special. It was nice to get it [100 wins] this weekend with three wins.”
Lamberti had four service aces to go with a team-high 14 kills and 13 digs. On the weekend, she averaged 13 kills and 11 digs per match to earn MVP honors.
Freshman Abby Gilleland led the team with 34 assists and also added seven kills. Meredith Ashy’s 17 digs were tops on the squad. Chelsea Bilger had nine kills and two solo blocks and Hartnett had eight kills and hit .636. Hartnett and Faith Robins combined for 42 kills this weekend and hit .356.
“We have to find ourselves as a team and they have to experience executing well,” Theis added. “I think that happened this weekend. It’s a bit of a 'seeing is believing' type of thing and with three wins, I hope they’re starting to realize they can do great things.”
The Green and White got two kills and two aces from Lamberti as it scored six of the first eight points of the first set. After Montana State cut the gap to one, Robins and Serena Warner combined on a block and the senior notched a kill to make it 11-7 Ohio.
Leading 17-14, the Bobcats ran off four more points to take their biggest lead of the set. Gilleland, Lamberti and Robins led the way in the first set, combining for 14 of the team's 18 kills and scoring 17 of the 25 points as the quad hit .457.
Ohio led the whole way through the second set starting off once again with six of the first eight points. MSU cut the gap to one at 12-11 before the ‘Cats rattled off three points in a row, culminating in an Ashy ace. Ahead by three, Ohio scored five of the final six points to win the set 25-18.
Bilger had six kills in the set and hit .417 while Lamberti had five kills and hit .500. Once more, the Bobcats as a team, hit over .400 in a set.
The Bobcats fell behind in the third set 14-12 but got three kills and two blocks to take a three-point lead. Montana State would keep things interesting and only trailed 23-22 before an attack error opened up a two-point gap. Warner earned the clean sweep for the ‘Cats with a kill off the set of Leah Petrovich.
Lamberti and Hartnett had four kills apiece and Ohio relied on its blocking game with five in the final set. Hartnett had three block assists and five Bobcats had at least one denial.
Ohio heads south next weekend for three matches in North Carolina. The Bobcats will play at UNC Greensboro on Thursday night before matches at UNC and North Carolina State on Saturday and Sunday afternoon.