Nov. 3, 2012
Mt. Pleasant, Mich. - Ohio Volleyball saw its 12-match winning streak snapped this evening at reigning MAC champion Central Michigan in five sets, 20-25, 24-26, 25-20, 25-23, 12-15. The Bobcats, who had not lost since Sept. 21, remain in first place of the league at 17-9, 12-2, with one weekend to play in the regular season.
“It was a defensive battle all night and they (CMU) were able to string together a three-point run at the end,” Head Coach Ryan Theis said. “It was difficult to get kills against them and their libero (Jenna Coates) should win Defensive Player of the Week for the way she played out there tonight.”
Kelly Lamberti led Ohio offensively with 19 kills and was second on the squad with 19 digs. Meredith Ashy led the ‘Cats with 21 digs and Abby Gilleland chipped in with 10. Gilleland also led the Green and White with 33 assists.
Ohio’s 17.0 team blocks was its highest total of the season, surpassing the 16.0 against Toledo, also a five-set match. Karin Bull led the Bobcats with nine blocks on the evening, five in the third set.
“We hit .193 and .142 in consecutive road matches this weekend and that’s not going to get it done at this time of year,” Theis added. “We came into the weekend leading the league in almost all the offensive categories and we had trouble at Kent State and again here tonight.”
CMU jumped out to an 8-3 lead in the first set and forced Ohio to use a timeout. The Bobcats burned their second timeout trailing 16-9 and eventually fell behind by as many as nine, 22-13. However, Ohio rallied and cut the gap to 24-20 before the Chippewas won the set, thanks in large part to 3.5 team blocks and three players with four kills.
The second frame started evenly with the teams trading points until CMU scored three in a row for a 15-13 edge. After a Bobcat timeout, the lead for the home side eventually grew to five at 19-14, which forced another discussion at the Ohio bench.
The Green and White rattled off three points in a row to get within two before a service error halted the run. Behind 23-20, Ohio scored three points in a row once more, tying the set on a kill by Robins. After CMU talked it over, it was able to score three of the next four points and end a hotly-contested game, 26-24 for a 2-0 lead.
Energized by the ending to the second set, Ohio used a four-point run to take a quick 8-4 lead in the third. After the Chippewas cut the gap to two, the Bobcats scored five more to gain a 13-6 edge.
CMU eventually cut the gap to 21-18 but could get no closer as Ohio scored five of the final seven points to win 25-20. The Bobcats managed only eight kills but notched seven team blocks during the set, with Bull collecting five.
Ohio had an 8-6 lead early in the fourth set before CMU went on a run to go ahead 11-8. Trailing 12-9 the Bobcat blocking game netted three in a row to tie the score and a Bull kill put them ahead, forcing a Chippewa timeout. With the set tied 16-16, Ohio went on to score four of the next five points to push ahead 20-17.
The Bobcat lead grew to four at 23-19 but the home side scored three of the next four to force an Ohio timeout at 24-22. After a Chippewa kill, an attack attempt went long, evening the match at two sets apiece. Robins finished with a set-best three kills for the ‘Cats, pushing her total for the night into double figures.
With every point at a premium in the fifth set, Ohio gained the first bit of separation at 4-2 on a Lamberti kill and increased the lead to three on an ace by the sophomore. However, after a timeout CMU evened things with three-successive points.
A kill and block by Bilger allowed Ohio to regain its two-point cushion at 9-7 but once more, the Chippewas were able to respond. CMU tied the score, eventually took the lead 13-12 and tallied the next two points for a five-set win.
Ohio closes the regular season next weekend with trips to Buffalo and Akron. The Bobcats play the Bulls on Friday night before traveling to face the Zips on Saturday at 5 p.m.