Sept. 21, 2013
ANN ARBOR, Mich. – The 24th-ranked Ohio University volleyball team (10-2) gave No. 10 Michigan all it could handle, but the Wolverines ultimately prevailed in five sets (18-25, 25-22, 15-25, 25-23, 11-15) Saturday night inside Cliff Keen Arena.
The Bobcats responded with gritty set victories each time Michigan claimed a game, but the Wolverines closed the match on a 4-2 run to secure the fifth and final set. Ohio claimed a 6-3 advantage in service aces for the match and held their own with the Wolverines in the blocking game (11-11). But Michigan held edges in kills (72-59) and hitting percentage (.272-.195) to ultimately prevail.
"We played very hard tonight," head coach Ryan Theis said. "Michigan is good in all six phases of the game and they don't give you a lot of points. Boith offense started well and it became really difficult ot kill it."
Junior outside hitter Kelly Lamberti (Cary, Ill.) played one of her best overall matches of the season for Ohio, with a match-high 21 kills to go along with 15 digs for her team-leading fifth double-double of the year.
"Lamberti had a really gutty performance," Theis said. "Everyone gave it their all but Michigan was just a little better than us tonight."
Redshirt junior Liis Kullerkann (Keila, Estonia) and freshman Katie Horton (Westland, Mich.) each recorded 10 kills for Ohio, while sophomore middle blocker Karin Bull (Bloomington, Minn.) notched seven kills and a team-high seven blocks while hitting .375 for the match.
Bull garnered Michigan Invitational All-Tournament honors after averaging 2.7 points, 2.1 kills and 1.1 blocks per set while hitting a team-high .373 over the three matches.
Sophomore Abby Gilleland (Bull Valley, Ill.) also earned all-tournament accolades after notching a team-high 47 assists to go along with a season-best 18 digs and three total blocks. The setter averaged 9.8 assists and 2.9 digs per set while contributing seven total blocks and three service aces.
On the back line, sophomore libero Meredith Ashy (Louisville, Ky.) recorded her 10th-straight match with 10 or more digs after tallying 16 on the night. Freshman outsider hitter/libero Mallory Salis (Oak Lawn, Ill.) added eight digs and a match-high three service aces for Ohio.
Michigan jumped out to a 7-2 lead in the opening set and held a 9-5 advantage early. The Bobcats trimmed the deficit to two (12-10) on a kill from Lamberti, but the Wolverines extended their lead to four at 17-13. Ohio moved as close as two (20-18) on a kill from Bull, but Michigan closed out the set with five-straight points to take set one, 25-20.
The Bobcats improved their start in set two, racing to a 6-3 lead punctuated by a service ace from freshman setter Brooke Coleman (Plano, Texas). The Wolverines used a 3-0 run to tie the score at nine, but Ohio answered back with three-straight kills to re-take the lead at 12-9 and force a Michigan timeout. The Green & White remained in front by three (16-13) after another ace from Coleman and led 19-17 on a kill from Horton.
Michigan posted the next two points to tie it up at 19, but Ohio responded with another two to go back up, 21-19. The Wolverines posted two-in-a-row to tie the score at 22, but Ohio came up big with the final three points of the set to take it, 25-22. The ‘Cats held a 3-0 advantage in aces and 3-1 edge in blocks for the frame.
The two teams battled back and forth for much of the early portion of the third set, as the score was tied nine times over the first 20 points. With the score at 10, Michigan finally broke free with 10 of the next 11 points to build a 20-11 advantage. The Wolverines hung on to win set three, 25-15.
Michigan built an early 11-8 lead in set four before the Bobcats used a 4-1 run to tie the score at 12. Ohio crafted another 3-0 run to take a 15-13 lead in the set, and the Bobcats led 18-14 after Lamberti knocked down her fourth kill in Ohio’s last seven points. With Ohio holding a 20-16 edge, Michigan rallied with four-straight points to tie the score and force a Bobcat timeout.
Ohio grabbed the next two points to move ahead 22-20, but Michigan answered with the next three points to take a one-point lead (23-22). The Bobcats then continued their strong play closing out sets in 2013. The Green & White responded with a 3-0 run to take the fourth set, 25-23.
Michigan took a 5-3 lead to start set five and led 8-5 early in the frame. The ‘Cats countered with kills from Lamberti and Horton to cut it to one (8-7), but Michigan responded with three-straight to build a four-point lead (11-7). Ohio cut the lead to two at 11-9, but the Wolverines notched four of the last six points of the set to take it, 15-11.
The Bobcats earned a second-place finish in the Michigan Invitational after opening the event with wins over Maryland (3-0) and Marshall (3-1). Ohio finishes the pre-season with a 2-2 record against teams ranked in the AVCA Coaches Poll.
The Bobcats now open Mid-American Conference play next weekend with a two-match road trip. Ohio begins the trip with a match at Buffalo (12-1) on Sept. 27 (7 p.m.) before heading back east to battle Akron (5-6) on Sept. 28 at 5 p.m.