ATHENS, Ohio - In a battle of division leaders, Ohio swept Western Michigan on Saturday night in three sets, 25-19, 25-18, 25-23. The Bobcats stayed atop the MAC standings, improving to 14-8 overall, 9-1 in the league.
"We had to earn every point against team this evening, they were not going to give us any," Head Coach Ryan Theis said. "We executed pretty well and when we do that, our offense is tough to beat."
Chelsea Bilger was strong for the 'Cats with 16 kills, hitting .577 in the process. Kelly Lamberti tacked on another double-double with 14 points, hitting .343, and accumulating 16 digs. Serena Warner and Faith Robins finished with eight kills apiece and both hit over .400 for the match.
Abby Gilleland's 42 assists paced the Ohio attack and Meredith Ashy joined Lamberti in double figures with 12 digs. Warner led the Green and White once more with four blocks. As a team, Ohio hit .359 and notched 5.0 team blocks.
"After our win last night, we wanted to come out and stay aggressive," Bilger added. "We came into the game feeling pretty good about the way we've been playing. I think that carried over to the court. Since we felt good, we played good. Simple as that."
Four-straight kills in the first set gave Ohio a 7-4 lead, one that it would not relinquish. WMU pulled even at 14-14 but the ‘Cats scored three in a row to retake the lead behind Robins, Lexie Hartnett and Mollie Geske. Ohio increased the lead to 19-15 before WMU burned a timeout.
Bilger, Robins and Lamberti linked together successive kills to close the set in favor of the Ohio, 25-19. Lamberti had an astounding eight kills on 11 attacks as the Bobcats tallied 22 kills and hit .500 as a team during the frame.
The Green and White scored seven of the first 10 points in the second set and controlled the tempo from that point forward. The closest the Broncos would get was three points at 15-12, but Ohio slowly pulled away and won the set, 25-18.
Once again, the Bobcats’ offensive attack was too strong for the visitors. Ohio hit .366 as the sophomore duo of Lamberti and Bilger picked up 11 kills on 21 attacks en route to a 2-0 lead in the set.
Ohio jumped out to a 9-4 lead in the third set and forced WMU to use a quick timeout. Despite that fact, the Broncos scored nine of 12 and eventually took a lead, 13-12. The Bobcats would remain in striking distance, trailing by only two in the late stage of the set, 21-19.
Kills by Bilger and Lamberti tied the score 21-21 as the Broncos took their second timeout. Trailing 23-22, Warner and Robins blocked an attack attempt to tie the score. Consecutive attack errors by the Broncos ended the match in favor of Ohio, 25-23. Warner, Robins and Bilger combined for 12 of the team’s 13 kills in the final game.
Ohio concludes its MAC home schedule next weekend with Dig Pink Night against Miami on Friday and Senior Night against Bowling Green on Saturday evening.