ATHENS, Ohio - In a battle between the top two teams in the Mid-American Conference, Ohio Volleyball swept Bowling Green on Senior Night, 25-18, 25-21, 25-21. Lexie Hartnett and Faith Robins each tallied 10 kills as the Bobcats won their 11th match in a row to sit alone atop the league standings.
"They're just a terrific group of young women. They have been great leaders and role models for the rest of our team throughout this season," Head Coach Ryan Theis said of his seniors. "They exemplify everything a student-athlete should be and I'm proud of everything they've accomplished."
Robins' performance capped a weekend that saw her notch 23 kills and hit .447 for the Bobcats in wins over BG and Miami. Hartnett reached double figures for the first time in MAC play this season as she hit .333 vs. the Falcons.
"It felt really good to perform like this on Senior Night because its just such a special night," Hartnett said. "I just felt like I had some openings, as a hitter, and I could find space on the court with my swings. Everything just seemed to click tonight for us."
Sophomores Chelsea Bilger and Kelly Lamberti continued their strong play as well for Ohio. Lamberti led the team with 11 kills and her 13 assists gave her 12 double-doubles for the season. She now has four double-doubles in a row and five in the last six matches. Bilger also hit double figures on the evening with 10 kills.
Ohio jumped out to a 9-3 lead in the first set and forced a quick BG timeout. Leading by five later in the frame, Robins notched back-to-back kills and a BG ball handling error made the score 22-14 in favor of the Green and White.
Hartnett's first kill and block would eventually win the set for Ohio 25-18. The `Cats held BG to a .093 hitting percentage, its lowest showing of the match.
Ohio took its first lead of the second set at 10-8 after a BG service error, an ace by Gilleland and a Bilger kill. In front 12-11, the Bobcats rattled off seven points in a row, with Lamberti and Hartnett doing most of the damage, to take a commanding 19-11 lead.
The Falcons scored five in a row to make things interesting at 21-18, but that's as close as the visitors would get as Lamberti closed things out with her sixth kill of the set. Hartnett added four kills in the game as the Bobcats hit .342 as a team.
The Bobcats fell behind by as many as three in the third set and were trailing 11-18 before they flipped the momentum. A kill by Bilger was followed by a Gilleland ace and Robins kill to even the score. Bilger then struck again for a 12-11 Ohio lead.
BG went ahead once more at 17-16 but Ohio got consecutive kills from Hartnett, Lamberti, Bilger and Serna Warner for a three-point cushion. The Falcons closed the gap to one at 21-20 but Bilger and Warner denied an attack attempt to quell the momentum.
Three errors by BG allowed the `Cats to close Senior Night out in style with a sweep of the team that handed them their only loss in MAC play.
Ohio finishes the MAC slate with four-consecutive matches on the road. The Bobcats are at Kent State this Thursday at 7 p.m. before crossing over for a game against Central Michigan in Mt. Pleasant on Saturday, also at 7 p.m.