Sept. 20, 2013
ANN ARBOR, Mich. – The Ohio University volleyball team is 9-1 for the first time since 2002 after opening the Michigan Invitational with a 3-0 win (26-24, 25-21, 25-23) over the University of Maryland (8-2) Friday afternoon in Cliff Keen Arena.
The Bobcats put forth a solid defensive effort against the Terrapins, as Ohio held a 51-44 edge in digs and limited Maryland to .148 hitting as a team. Ohio continued its balanced play of late in all facets of the match, as four players recorded at least eight digs, while four also posted at least seven kills.
“I thought Maryland played very hard. They have guts,” head coach Ryan Theis said. “I was happy to see us finish all three sets against a team competing that hard.”
Coming off of WKU Invitational All-Tournament honors, redshirt junior Liis Kullerkann (Keila, Estonia) picked up where she left off in Ann Arbor, tying a team-high with nine kills while hitting .400 and adding three total blocks. Junior outside hitter Kelly Lamberti (Cary, Ill.) also tallied nine kills and chipped in eight digs and two total blocks.
Sophomore middle blocker Karin Bull (Bloomington, Minn.) aided the Bobcat offense with seven kills and two blocks while hitting .333 for the match.
“Both teams were good in game one and it dropped off after that,” Theis said. “Karin made a couple big plays for us to get us going. We fought back from down 15-11 in game three and I thought that showed some character.”
On the back line, sophomore libero Meredith Ashy (Louisville, Ky.) and freshman outside hitter/libero Mallory Salis (Oak Lawn, Ill.) each posted double-digit digs for the third time in four matches. Ashy notched 11 – marking her ninth-straight match with 10+ digs – and added three assists for the ‘Cats. Salis also tallied 11 digs while contributing three kills.
Sophomore setter Abby Gilleland (Bull Valley, Ill.) registered a match-high 31 assists while chipping in nine digs, while graduate middle blocker Alexis Pinson (Phoenix, Ariz.) tied a team-high with three total blocks and added three kills and five digs.
Ohio won the first three points of the match after knocking down two kills and grabbing an ace from Pinson. The ‘Cats took an 8-6 lead on a solo block from freshman outside hitter Katie Horton (Westland, Mich.), but Maryland raced back with four-straight points to move ahead, 10-8. Ohio answered with six of the next eight points to re-take the lead (14-12) and the Green & White stayed ahead by two on a kill from Pinson (17-15).
From there, Maryland responded to tie the score at 20, then went in front by one (23-22) after posting a block. The Terps forced set point at 24-23, but much like things have gone all season, the Bobcats stepped up when it mattered most. Ohio captured the remaining two points of the set – highlighted by two kills from Horton – to take the set, 26-24.
The two teams played to a 5-5 tie in set two before the ‘Cats used a 4-0 run to surge in front of the Terps. Maryland cut the lead to two (9-7), but Ohio posted four of the next five points to build a five-point advantage (13-8). The Bobcats stayed in front by five (19-14) on a kill from Bull and increased the edge to a set-high eight points (22-14) after a Maryland attack error. The Terps cut the Ohio lead to three at 24-21, but Ohio held on to capture the second set, 25-21.
Ohio and Maryland played to a 4-4 tie in frame three before the Terps rallied to take a 12-9 lead. With Maryland ahead by four (15-11), the Bobcats began their third set comeback, with four-straight points to knot the set at 15. The ‘Cats took a 17-16 lead on a kill from Lamberti, then used a 6-1 run to go up by five points (23-18). Maryland again stormed back to move within one (24-23), but the Bobcats cashed in on set point after a block from Pinson gave Ohio a 25-23 victory.
With the win, Ohio improves to 8-0 in three-set matches and 5-0 in neutral site contests this season. The Green & White are now 2-1 against ACC opponents in 2013.
The Bobcats return to action later tonight with a 5:30 p.m. matchup vs. Marshall (5-8) inside Cliff Keen Arena.