Sept. 23, 2010
ATHENS, Ohio - Ohio Volleyball won their 2010 MAC opener at home on Thursday evening in three sets against Kent State, 25-13, 25-17, 25-15. The Bobcats (9-5, 1-0) have now won 12-straight MAC regular-season home contests dating back to 2008.
"I think our team had fun tonight," Head Coach Ryan Theis said. "That's the biggest thing. We played an incredibly difficult preseason schedule to prepare for our conference season. We wanted to get as much RPI respect as we could and it was challenging. Without question, it prepares us for the start of a conference season and I like the way we came out today and established ourselves."
The first set was tied 4-4 before the 'Cats won nine of the next ten points for a 13-5 lead. The lead was still at eight points, 18-10, as Ohio knocked out seven of the next 10 points to win the first set 25-13. Katie Post had five kills, a block and an ace while Lexie Hartnett had three kills. Michelle Jantsch added a kill, a block and nine assists.
"Katie had five kills in the first set, that stood out," Theis said. "She cooled off a bit in the second game and at that point Sue picked up. Mandy had a really nice game, we've worked on a few things with her, and I think that really showed tonight. I thought Meryl controlled the ball well ... On a night like tonight when the numbers looked good, I think it's fair to say everyone played well."
Set number two started with a 4-1 advantage to Ohio but Kent would keep the set close and only trailed 14-13 midway through the proceedings. Two kills by Jantsch, one by Sue Jacobi and a Kent error pushed the lead to four at 18-14. After two Golden Flash points, Ohio scored seven of the final eight points in the set to take a 2-0 lead in the match. Jacobi finished with seven kills and an ace with Jantsch picking up two more kills and 10 assists.
After falling behind 3-0 in the final set, Ohio grabbed nine of the next 12 points for a 9-6 lead. Three straight attack errors by the Golden Flashes broke a stalemate. Ohio still led at 18-13 before scoring seven of the next nine points to close out the first set. Mandy Nichols had two kills and a block and throughout the match did very well with her serve to extend long-scoring rallies for the Bobcats.
"With her [Mandy's] body recovering from her offseason surgery, a weekend where we play three or four games a weekend we didn't play her a lot on the back row," Theis said. "Now when we're not at two matches a weekend we can play her back into shape. I think she's been having a much better season than what people expected."
Overall, Jacobi led Ohio with 11 kills and hit .391. Nichols had seven kills and three digs while Post had six kills and two blocks. Jantsch finished with four kills and hit .429. The senior setter also racked up 25 assists an five digs. Nicole Staverman and Meryl Bender finished tied for the team lead with seven digs apiece. Overall, Ohio out-killed Kent 38-22 and out-hit them .342 to .013.
"I like that we're eager to be successful," Theis added. "I like that our team has a chip on their shoulders to be successful. This team is hungry and wants to improve. From that aspect, I'd like to have one or two difficult matches along the way. I like that we're angry."
The Bobcats travel to Central Michigan this Saturday for a match at 7 p.m.