YPSILANTI, Mich. - Bolstered by a balanced offensive attack, the 18th-ranked Ohio University volleyball team (15-3, 5-1 MAC) shut down Eastern Michigan (11-10, 1-5 MAC) in four sets (25-23, 25-7, 21-25, 25-14) Saturday evening at EMU's Convocation Center.
The Bobcats won the match in large part to blistering starts in sets two and four. In the opening 10 points of those two sets, the Bobcats outscored the Eagles by a combined total of 18-2.
Five Ohio players notched at least 11 points in the contest to help Ohio remain atop of the MAC East Division standings. The Bobcats hit .260 as a team while limiting EMU to .093 and held a sizable 15.5-3.0 edge in the blocking game.
The Green & White knocked down 58 kills to EMU's 38 and held a strong 57-35 lead in assists for the match.
Junior outside hitter Kelly Lamberti achieved another career milestone in the match as she posted her 900th career dig in the second set. The Cary, Ill., native is one of just three Ohio student-athletes in the rally scoring era to post 1,000 kills and 900 digs in a career.
Lamberti led Ohio with 13 kills while adding 18 digs to post her sixth double-double in her past seven matches. She was buttressed by a pair of middle blockers at the net, as sophomore Karin Bull (Bloomington, Minn.) knocked down 13 kills and matched a career high with nine total blocks, while graduate middle blocker Alexis Pinson (Phoenix, Ariz.) compiled 11 kills, hit a match-high .474 and added five total blocks.
Sophomore setter Abby Gilleland (Bull Valley, Ill.) recorded another solid all-around effort for Ohio, tallying a match-high 43 assists while chipping in 17 digs, seven kills, five total blocks, three service aces and a .417 hitting percentage. It marked her third double-double of the season.
On the back line, sophomore libero Meredith Ashy (Louisville, Ky.) registered a team-high 20 digs and added two aces, while freshman Brooke Coleman (Plano, Texas) notched a career-best 15 digs for the `Cats. Coleman averaged 14 digs/match on Ohio's two-match road swing.
EMU posted the first six points of the contest and led 11-3 early in the first set. With the Eagles leading 15-8, Ohio posted four of the next five points to move within four (16-12). Then, a kill from Gilleland cut the deficit to three (18-15). The `Cats went on from there to post a 4-1 run to tie the score at 21-21 and took their first lead at 23-22 on a block from Bull and Horton. The Green & White closed the set on a 5-2 run to complete the impressive comeback, 25-23.
The Bobcats took control in the early portion of the second set, posting nine of the first 10 points of the frame. A block from Kullerkann and Pinson increased Ohio's lead to 11 (13-2) and the `Cats led by as many as 16 (20-4) after putting together a 7-0 run midway through the frame. The Bobcats closed the set on a 4-1 run to take it in dominant fashion, 25-7.
Between the end of the first set and the start of the second, Ohio held a 30-9 edge in scoring over the Eagles. The Bobcats held a 4-1 lead in aces in the second set and hit .265 while limiting EMU to -.139 from the floor.
Eastern Michigan jumped out to an 8-4 lead in set three, but Ohio responded with a 6-2 surge to move within two at 10-8. From there, EMU extended its lead to six at 18-12, before Ohio used a 4-1 run to move back within three at 19-16. But Ohio could not get closer than two (22-20) for the remainder of the frame and EMU captured the set, 25-21.
Ohio again came out strong in set four and led 9-1 early. The Eagles cut the advantage to four at 12-8, but an ace by Gilleland moved Ohio back in front by seven (16-9). From there, the `Cats used a 5-1 run to build a 10-point lead at 22-12 and closed out the frame, 25-14, to win the match.
With the win, the Bobcats improved to 6-0 against Eastern Michigan under head coach Ryan Theis.
No. 18 Ohio now returns to the Convo for two matches next weekend. The Bobcats host Toledo on Oct. 18 at 7 p.m. before battling Ball State on Oct. 19 at 7 p.m.