DeKalb, Ill. - Ohio Volleyball dropped a second-straight contest on the road this evening, 25-18, 25-20, 25-21 at Northern Illinois. The Bobcats fell to 15-9, 7-3 in the MAC, while NIU improved to 19-5, 8-2 in conference play.
Kelly Lamberti, from Cary, Ill., had 12 kills, a match high, and also added 11 digs for a double-double. Katie Post, who was playing in front of a large hometown contingent as well, finished with 10 kills and a match-high five blocks. The Streamwood, Ill., native hit .318 for the Green & White. Senior Leah Petrovich led Ohio with 19 assists and Mollie Geske finished with a match-best 18 digs.
After recording a season-low two blocks last night at Western Michigan, Ohio racked up nine blocks and played solid team defense, limiting NIU's Lauren Wicinski, the nation's leading hitter at 5.62 kills per set, to only 12 kills and a .132 attack percentage.
In the first set, Ohio fell behind quickly, 7-1. After cutting the deficit to 14-10, NIU went on a six-point run to push its lead to double figures at 20-10. The Bobcats eventually dropped the set, 25-18.
Lamberti and Post combined for eight of the team's nine kills in the set and the Bobcats surpassed last night's block total with four.
After allowing back-to-back points and falling behind 11-7 in the second set, Ohio got three-straight points of its own to close within one at 11-10. Down 17-13, the Bobcats continued their push, scoring three in a row and forcing a NIU timeout. The run continued with Lamberti drawing Ohio even at 17-17 with one of her six kills in the set.
However, NIU scored three in a row and forced Ohio to use a timeout, trailing 20-17. The Bobcats were still in the set, trailing only 21-19, but NIU scored three in a row to take a five-point advantage and eventually win the set, 25-20. This time through the rotation, it was Lamberti and Bilger leading the Bobcats with 10 of the team's 11 kills in the set.
Ohio trailed 10-9 in the third set before NIU got a quick five points to open up a six-point lead. Trailing 16-10, Ohio got kills from Post and Lamberti before a NIU attack error led to a timeout by the home side at 16-13. Inspired play by Serena Warner, Petrovich, a heads-up play by Geske and kills from Faith Robins and Post kept Ohio within striking distance at 20-19.
Despite the valiant fight, Ohio surrendered four of the next five points and lost the set, 25-21. Post finished with five of her 10 kills in the final set, while Robins added three and Warner chipped in with two.
Ohio remains on the road next weekend as it restarts play against MAC East opponents. The Bobcats will play at Bowling Green on Saturday at 3 p.m. before traveling to Miami for a 3 p.m. tilt on Sunday.