ANN ARBOR, Mich. – For the first time since the 1995 season, the Ohio University volleyball team is 10-1 after taking down Marshall University (5-9) by the score of 3-1 (25-19, 25-20, 20-25, 25-17) Friday evening inside Cliff Keen Arena.
The Bobcats won the contest with precision and defensive toughness at the net, as Ohio hit .370 for the match and held a sizable 12-3 lead in total blocks over the Thundering Herd. After Marshall forced a fourth set, the Bobcats hit a resounding .538 in the fourth frame to clinch their 10th win of the 2013 campaign.
Redshirt junior Liis Kullerkann (Keila, Estonia) tallied seven kills and hit .400 for Ohio, while sophomore setter Abby Gilleland (Bull Valley, Ill.) contributed a match-high 40 assists to go along with eight digs, four kills on seven attempts (.571), four total blocks and a service ace.
Sophomore libero Meredith Ashy (Louisville, Ky.) led the back line with a match-high 12 digs, marking her ninth-straight outing with at least 10 digs.
Ohio and Marshall played to a 6-6 tie in set one and the teams went back and forth from there to tie the score at 13. From there, Ohio distanced itself from the Herd by using a 6-1 run to build a five-point lead (19-14).
Marshall posted five of the next seven points to cut the Bobcat advantage to two (21-19), but a kill and a block assist on consecutive points from Horton extended the Ohio edge back to four (23-19). The Green & White closed the first set on a 4-0 run to take it, 25-19.
The Bobcats jumped out to a 6-3 lead in set two and led 11-8 after a block from Bull and Gilleland. Marshall cut the Ohio advantage to two (17-15) on a kill from Ali Kiekover, but Ohio extended its edge to four (23-19) on a kill from Gilleland. After hitting a blistering .400 in the frame, Ohio won the second set by five at 25-20.
Marshall raced ahead by three (9-6) in the third set but Ohio responded with a 3-0 run to tie the score at nine. The Thundering Herd moved back ahead by two at 15-13, but the Bobcats surged back with four kills on the next five points to re-take the lead at 17-16. Marshall rallied yet again with a 5-1 run to grab a three-point lead (21-18) and the Herd held on to take set three, 25-20.
The Thundering Herd jumped out to a 7-4 lead in set four, but Ohio answered the hot start with a 3-0 run to tie the set at seven. With Marshall leading 10-8, the ‘Cats posted seven of the next nine points to take the lead at 15-12, then moved in front by four (18-14) after a Herd attack error. After Marshall notched the next point, Ohio responded with four-straight points – including three kills and an ace - to extend its advantage to seven (22-15). Ohio then notched three of the final five points of the match to win the set, 25-17.
The match was the ‘Cats first four-set outing of the season. The Bobcats are now 29-9 all-time against the Thundering Herd.
Ohio is 2-0 in the Michigan Invitational and will match up against No. 10 Michigan (8-1) Saturday at 7 p.m. for a chance to win its third non-conference tournament title of the season.