Oct. 10, 2013
KENT, Ohio - The No. 18 Ohio University volleyball team (14-3, 4-1 MAC) dropped its first league contest of 2013 to Kent State (9-9, 3-2 MAC) in four sets (23-25, 25-21, 18-24, 22-25) Thursday evening at the M.A.C. Center.
The Golden Flashes were active on the back line and dug a number of tough balls to help earn the upset victory. Kent held a 72-61 advantage in digs for the match and held even with the No. 18 blocking team in the country, 9-9.
"I think Kent outskilled us tonight which is something we haven't been accustomed to this season," head coach Ryan Theis said. "Our skill and our ability to put ourselves in good situations has made our season successful to this point. Tonight, we didn't execute that often and Kent did."
Graduate middle blocker Alexis Pinson (Phoenix, Ariz.) led Ohio with a team-high 13 kills while contributing six total blocks and hitting at .423 for the match. Junior outside hitter Kelly Lamberti (Cary, Ill.) notched her fifth double-double in the last six contests with 12 kills and 13 digs, while sophomore middle blocker Karin Bull (Bloomington, Minn.) added 12 kills to pace the Ohio offense.
Sophomore libero Meredith Ashy (Louisville, Ky.) posted a team-high 14 digs, while sophomore setter Abby Gilleland (Bull Valley, Ill.) notched a match-high 44 assists while contributing eight kills, six digs and three total blocks.
"I thought Abby showed a lot of competitiveness and put us in situations to win and Alexis played well and was active for us at the net," Theis said.
Kent State posted the first five points of the contest, before Ohio stormed back with five of the next seven points to cut the Kent lead to two (7-5). The Flashes extended their advantage back to four at 12-8, but Ohio used a 4-1 run - punctuated by a Pinson kill - to cut the lead to one (13-12).
After a back and forth next few points, Ohio tied it up at 19, then took its first lead of the set (22-21) on a kill from Pinson. Kent responded with two of the next three to set up set point (24-22) and ultimately took the first set, 25-23.
Kent again raced out of the gate in set two and held an early 7-2 lead. Ohio battled back quickly, using a 5-1 run - highlighted by three kills from Gilleland - to tie the score at 8-8. Ohio took its first lead of the frame at 13-12 on a kill from Katie Horton and extended the advantage to three (16-13) after two Kent attack errors. The Flashes cut the lead to one at 21-20, but Ohio responded with three straight to force set point and the `Cats won the second frame, 25-21.
The Bobcats knocked down 17 kills and hit a blistering .368 as a team in the frame.
Ohio and Kent played to an 8-8 tie in set three before Ohio moved in front by two (11-9) on a kill from Bull. The Flashes tied it up at 11, then used a 4-0 run to move ahead by four at 18-14. After Kent moved ahead by six (20-14), Ohio used a 3-0 run to cut the deficit to three (20-17) and force a Kent timeout. But the Flashes posted the last four points of the set to take it, 25-18.
The Bobcats came out hot in the fourth set and held an 8-5 lead after a Gilleland kill. Ohio then surged in front by seven (13-6) after putting together a 4-0 run that included two kills and an ace. The `Cats stayed in front by six (20-14) on a kill from Pinson, but Kent responded with three-straight points to cut it to three at 20-17.
From there, the `Cats fired back with kills from Bull and Lamberti to build a five-point cushion (22-17), but the Flashes answered by posting the final eight points of the set to win it, 25-22, and take the match.
It marked the first setback for Ohio this season that has not gone to five games.
The Bobcats wrap up their two-match road swing with a contest at Eastern Michigan Saturday at 7 p.m. in Ypsilanti, Mich.