ATHENS, Ohio - Ohio Volleyball won its third match in a row on Saturday evening, sweeping Eastern Michigan, 25-20, 25-17, 25-23. It was the third-straight win for the Bobcats, who have also won their last nine sets.
Ohio improved to 8-8 on the season and moved to 3-1 in Mid-American Conference play. The Bobcats have not lost to EMU since 2001.
Kelly Lamberti notched her second double-double of the weekend with 14 kills and 14 digs. Classmate Chelsea Bilger matched her season-high with 14 kills and added seven digs. Serena Warner and Faith Robins each notched six kills with the senior tallying five blocks and the sophomore adding four.
Abby Gilleland had 42 assists, her most in a three-set match this season. She has now surpassed the 40-assist mark in three matches (Illinois, Dayton). Meredith Ashy surpassed 20 digs for the fifth time this season and second time in a row, leading Ohio with 21. Mollie Geske was also strong on the back line with her fourth double-digit dig contest of the year with 12.
Lexie Hartnett led Ohio on the night with seven blocks, a season-high as Ohio racked up 11.0 total team blocks for the second match in a row. The Bobcats lead the MAC in blocking with an average of 2.66 per set and rank 30th in the nation.
"The biggest key to the game for us was being able to score well against them (49 kills, .222)," Head Coach Ryan Theis said. "Then on the back end we had 11 blocks against their attackers and limited them to a sub-.100 hitting percentage."
"We have been focused for the entire match, and I think that was something we had not been doing," Chelsea Bilger said. "I think that has led to us playing more consistently and accurately during these past three matches."
Ohio trailed EMU in the first set 7-3 when Mollie Geske stepped to the service line. The sophomore ignited a rally that saw nine-straight points go the way of the Bobcats as they took the lead 12-7. Still in front 18-14, two kills by Lamberti and a dual block from Hartnett and Robins pushed the lead to seven and forced an EMU timeout.
The Eagles sliced the gap to three at 21-18 but the `Cats staved off the rally and took the set, 25-20 on Bilger's fifth kill of the set. Lamberti notched eight kills in the first frame and Hartnett racked up four blocks.
Ohio scored six of the first eight points and nine of the first 12 in the second set to take a six-point lead and force an EMU timeout. Eventually, a kill by Warner would up the cushion to nine at 17-8 as the Eagles used their second and final timeout of the set.
A three-point run that featured an ace by Warner and the first kill of the game for Karin Bull pushed the lead to double figures at 21-10. The visitors would get as close as seven points, but eventually fall after Warner's second kill of the set won it for the `Cats, 25-17.
Ohio jumped out to a 4-1 lead in the third set before the Eagles rattled off four in a row to take a lead. The teams would trade points until the Green and White scored three in order thanks to the strong play of Robins, to take a 16-13 lead and force an EMU timeout.
The Eagles would not quit and eventually took a 19-17 lead on an ace to force Ohio to use one of its timeout. The `Cats used another timeout after tying the set and then seeing the visitors notch back-to-back points. Down 22-20, Bilger and Warner tied the score and the duo combined on a block for a one-point lead.
An ace from Ashy put Ohio point away from winning the match and after an EMU timeout, Bilger tacked on her fifth kill of the set for a 25-22 win and a sweep of their MAC West foe.
Ohio stays at home next weekend for matches with Akron and Buffalo on Friday and Saturday. The two contests are both scheduled for 7 p.m. starts.