AKRON, Ohio - The No. 22 Ohio University volleyball team (12-2, 2-0 MAC) used a precise offensive effort to race past the University of Akron (6-7, 0-2 MAC) in straight sets (25-12, 25-12, 25-22) Saturday evening at James A. Rhodes Arena in Akron, Ohio.
The Bobcats hit .407 in the match - including .444 in the first set - and held a 42-29 edge in kills. Ohio used a nasty service game to post five aces in the first set and held an 8-1 advantage in aces for the match. The Bobcats also were +12 in assists (40-28) and out-blocked the Zips, 7-2.
Sophomore setter Abby Gilleland (Bull Valley, Ill.) again put together an impressive all-around effort for Ohio with a match-high 33 assists to go along with six kills, two blocks and a .545 hitting percentage.
"I thought we handled the first ball well tonight," head coach Ryan Theis said. "From there, Abby got people good looks and we hit well over .300. I was pleased with our ability to do that for three straight games. Our passers and setter did a good job tonight."
Junior outside hitter Kelly Lamberti (Cary, Ill.) chipped in a match-high 11 kills - including seven in the third set - and added seven digs and two service aces, while redshirt junior Liis Kullerkann (Keila, Estonia) tallied seven kills and hit .417. Lamberti reached the 1,000 kill plateau in the match and is now one of just eight student-athletes in Ohio history to reach the milestone.
Graduate middle blocker Alexis Pinson (Phoenix, Ariz.) notched a match-high three service aces to go along with six kills, two blocks and a .556 hitting percentage, while freshman libero/outside hitter Mallory Salis (Oak Lawn, Ill.) posted a team-high eight digs to go along with three kills and two service aces.
Ohio jumped out to an 8-4 lead in the opening set and led 13-8 after a kill from Pinson. An impressive three-straight service aces by Pinson were part of a 5-0 run that extended the Ohio advantage to nine (18-9). The Bobcats cruised to a 25-12 set one victory after closing the frame on a 12-3 run.
The Zips posted the first three points of the second set, but Ohio posted four of the next five points to knot the score at four. With both teams tied at seven, the `Cats created some distance by putting together a 4-0 run - highlighted by two kills from Salis - to go up, 11-7. With Ohio up 15-10, the `Cats began another run - this time 5-0 - to extend their lead to 10 (20-10). The Bobcats closed the frame on an 18-5 run to take set two, 25-12.
Five of Ohio's first seven points of the third set came on kills as the `Cats jumped out to a 7-2 lead in the frame. Akron closed to within four at 12-8 and cut it to two at 14-12. An assist and kill from Gilleland helped Ohio build its lead back to four (17-13) but Akron moved back within one at 18-17.
From there, Ohio bounced back with two-straight (20-17) and again, Akron cut the lead to one at 23-22. Ohio closed out the set with two-straight points to win the frame, 25-22, and clinch the match victory.
With the win, Ohio improved to 10-1 against Akron under Theis and 33-23 overall against the Zips.
Ohio now returns to the Convo for its first homestand in close to a month. The Bobcats host rival Miami on Oct. 4 (7 p.m.) and face off with Bowling Green on Oct. 5 (7 p.m.). The matchup with the Falcons will be Ohio's annual "Dig Pink" game.