ATHENS, Ohio - Ohio Volleyball fought back against Kent State at home this evening, topping the visitors in five sets, 22-25, 25-12, 19-25, 25-17, 15-11. The Bobcats, playing their second five-set match in the last three, received a career-high 15 kills from Lexie Hartnett to move to 18-9, 10-3 in MAC play.
Hartnett's previous career high was 13 kills against Maryland, but the sophomore surpassed that mark in the final set this evening. She and Faith Robins also accumulated four blocks apiece to lead the Bobcats. Katie Post had her best offensive performance in MAC play with 13 kills on 24 swings (.458).
Kelly Lamberti registered another double-double with a match-high 18 kills and 20 digs, while classmate Chelsea Bilger also reached double-digit kills on the evening. Bailey Karst finished with a career-high 51 assists and Mollie Geske had a match-high 22 digs, her best performance in MAC play this season.
Back-to-back aces by Bridget Grdina in the first set helped Kent State go on a four-point run and take an early 6-2 lead. From that point on, the Golden Flashes never relinquished the lead with four points being the biggest margin.
Despite fighting back to within one point for a seventh time, at 23-22, the 'Cats allowed the final two points and dropped the set. Ohio finished with four more kills than Kent State in the first set with Post picking up five and Hartnett scoring four.
Ohio dominated the second set going on three-point and four-point scoring streaks to win by a score of 25-12. The Bobcats limited Kent State to only four kills in the set and the Golden Flashes hit a -.212. Robins led the Green & White with three kills.
After the intermission, the third set started with a 5-1 lead for the visitors and the lead for Kent State eventually grew to eight points. Ohio eventually sliced the lead in half after an ace by Leah Petrovich but the Golden Flashes recorded a match-best 17 kills and hit .382 in the set to push the Bobcats to the brink.
Kent State looked to be in good shape as the fourth started with a 6-3 lead. However, after an Ohio timeout, the Bobcats scored nine of the next 10 points to take a 12-7 lead and turn the match around. Up 18-13, Ohio, behind Robins, Hartnett and Lamberti, went on a five-point run to go ahead by double figures.
Ohio eventually won the set 25-17 as Hartnett registered five kills and Lamberti had three kills and two aces. Both teams hit a high percentage with Kent State getting 11 kills on 27 swings (.259) and Ohio notching 13 kills on 31 swings (.258).
The fifth set saw the teams trade the first eight points evenly but Ohio broke the deadlock with a Lamberti kill, a Hartnett kill and a third ace of the night from Lamberti.
After a Kent State timeout, Ohio fought off three chances by the Golden Flashes to tie the set. The Bobcats would eventually win the match on Hartnett's 15th kill of the night, 15-11. Lamberti also had a strong fifth set, leading the Ohio attack with six kills.
Ohio remains at home this weekend as it hosts Central Michigan on Saturday night at 7 p.m.