Kent, Ohio - Ohio Volleyball (17-8, 12-1) won its 12th match in a row and made it 22 straight against Kent State this evening, sweeping the Golden Flashes 25-22, 25-13, 25-23. Kelly Lamberti had another outstanding performance for the `Cats with 19 kills (.375) and 14 digs.
No other Ohio player finished with more than seven kills as the team hit .193 on the evening, but Lamberti's play helped lead her side to a win. Abby Gilleland finished with a match-high 33 assists and also notched six kills (.455) from her setter position. Meredith Ashy (16 digs), Chelsea Bilger (13) and Mollie Geske (10) were solid defensively for the Bobcats.
"In sets one and three, there was so much point scoring, both teams were going back-and-forth," Head Coach Ryan Theis said. "We really had our offense rolling in the second set, and that's why we were able to win by such a large margin. I thought we really blocked well and our defense was outstanding at times tonight to keep us in the match. Eventually, we started playing better offensively and that created the separation."
With the first set tied 5-5, the Golden Flashes went on a four-point run to take an early lead. The Bobcats answered right back with four points of their own to knot the score at 10 apiece. The teams would exchange points with the score remaining deadlocked up to 19-19.
At that point, consecutive kills by Faith Robins would give Ohio a slim two-point edge. However, KSU would draw even once more at 22-22. A Lamberti kill pushed the Bobcats back in front and after an attack error, Lexie Hartnett and Leah Petrovich combined on a block to close things out.
A five-point run by Ohio gave it an early 9-4 advantage in the second set. Another three-point spurt would push the margin to eight, 18-10, and an attack error would eventually get the Green and White ahead double figures at 21-11.
The Bobcats went on to score 10 of the final 13 points in the second set, cruising to a 25-13 win. The defense was strong for Ohio through the first two frames, notching seven blocks and limiting the KSU attack to a .013 hitting percentage.
The teams went back-and-forth to start the third set with Kent State gaining the first separation at 13-11. However, it didn't take long for Ohio to draw even and then take the lead on a Bilger kill at 16-15.
When all was said and done, the `Cats had taken six of seven points to open up a 20-16 lead and force the Golden Flashes to use both their timeouts. The home side showed resiliency though in coming back and tying the score 21-21.
With the scoreboard showing 23-23, a Golden Flash attempt just went past the outstretched arm of Bilger for a one-point lead. On the next volley, it was Hartnett rising above the net for a kill and the Ohio win, 25-23. Bilger finished with five kills in the final frame after collecting two during the first pair of sets.
Ohio has tomorrow off as it drives up to Mt. Pleasant, Mich., for a Saturday night contest at CMU. Game time is slated for 7 p.m.