ATHENS, Ohio – The Ohio University volleyball team (20-4, 10-2) fought through a pair of extra session sets to knock off Buffalo (16-9, 4-8) Saturday evening inside the Convocation Center.
With the win, Ohio reached the 20-win plateau and the 10-win conference mark for a school-record 12th-straight season.
Ohio hit its season average (.267) on the night and limited Buffalo to .165, marking the 11th time in 12 MAC contests that the ‘Cats have held their opponent under .200 from the floor. Ohio also out-blocked (12-11) a solid Bulls blocking unit and knocked down 63 kills to Buffalo’s 55.
Junior outside hitter Kelly Lamberti (Cary, Ill.) returned to action with her team-leading 13th double-double of the season, tallying 15 kills and 15 digs on the night while hitting .333. Redshirt junior Liis Kullerkann (Keila, Estonia) also bolstered the Ohio attack with 12 kills and hit a solid .364 on the night.
From the middle blocker position, graduate student Alexis Pinson (Phoenix, Ariz.) notched a match-high nine total blocks and added 11 kills, while sophomore Karin Bull also reached double figures with 10 kills.
On the back row, freshman defensive specialist Brooke Coleman tallied a career-best 22 digs from the right side, while sophomore libero Meredith Ashy (Louisville, Ky.) added 17 digs for the ‘Cats.
Sophomore setter Abby Gilleland recorded a match-high 53 assists – her career-best in a four-set match – and added 13 digs and five kills to notch her seventh double-double of 2013.
Ohio came out strong in the opening two sets, as Ohio won each by a 25-15 margin. The ‘Cats went up by four (10-6) on a Lamberti kill early in the first frame, then extended that edge to 10 (18-8) after putting together a 6-0 run. In set two, Ohio was holding a one-point lead (11-10), before the Green & White rattled off an 8-2 run to build a seven-point edge (19-12).
Buffalo roared back in set three, as the two teams battled back and forth to draw even after 34 points (17-17). From there, Buffalo used a 5-1 run to go up four (22-18), but Ohio answered back with four of the next six to knot the score at 24-24. The ‘Cats then staved off four set points from the Bulls, before Buffalo finally broke through to take the long third set, 30-28.
The fourth set mirrored the third, as the teams played to a 16-16 tie. Ohio again went down by as many as three (19-16), but the ‘Cats raced back with three straight to tie it at 19. Buffalo set up two set points at 24-22, but a kill from Pinson and a Buffalo attack error kept Ohio alive in the frame.
Buffalo again set up set point at 25-24, but Ohio notched two kills and a service ace on the final three points to win the set (27-25) and claim the match victory.
The final point ace from Mallory Salis (Oak Lawn, Ill.) was one of three by the freshman outside hitter/libero on the night.
With the victory, Ohio improved to 31-2 all-time against the Bulls.
Ohio now hits the road for its final MAC away swing of the season. The ‘Cats battle Bowling Green (12-12, 8-4) on Friday (Nov. 8) at 7 p.m. before heading to Oxford for a matchup with Miami (10-14, 2-10) Saturday at 5 p.m.