Nov. 9, 2013
OXFORD, Ohio – The Ohio University volleyball team (22-4, 12-2) clinched the MAC East regular season title for an impressive 11th-straight season after dispatching of Miami in five sets (25-27, 25-17, 26-24, 17-25, 15-12) Saturday night inside Millett Hall.
The Bobcats have now won six-straight contests and are off to their best overall start since the 2007 season when the ‘Cats started 25-4.
After taking a two sets to one lead, the Bobcats dropped the fourth set and were down 8-4 in set five, before roaring all the way back to complete the comeback.
“Tonight was another gutsy performance by this group,” head coach Ryan Theis said. “I thought Miami played so hard and has been playing really well in their past two matches. It was a tough road match against a rival on their senior night and we played well.”
The Bobcats held a 69-61 edge in kills for the match and notched 68 assists to Miami’s 56.
Setter Abby Gilleland (Bull Valley, Ill.) notched 60 of those assists to set a new career high for Ohio. The sophomore also recorded 16 digs and added five kills to notch her third-straight double-double (nine overall) this season. In the third set, Gilleland recorded her 2,000th career assist in a Bobcat uniform.
Freshman outside hitter Katie Horton (Westland, Mich.) notched a new career high in kills for the second-straight contest (17) to lead all Bobcats and added six total blocks at the net. Sophomore middle blocker Karin Bull (Bloomington, Minn.) added 14 kills and a match-high seven total blocks, while fellow middle blocker Alexis Pinson (Phoenix, Ariz.) matched Bull with 14 kills and added six total blocks while hitting a team-high .367 on the night.
On the back row, sophomore libero Meredith Ashy (Louisville, Ky.) notched a team-high 25 digs and added a service ace, while freshman defensive specialist Brooke Coleman notched 21 digs to total her third-straight match with 10+ digs.
“I really like the way Katie Horton and Karin Bull are stepping up,” Theis said. “Although Kelly [Lamberti] is working back to full strength, her passing helps get our offense going and she sucked up some pain and played well in the fifth.”
Ohio trailed 13-11 in the first set, before taking a 19-18 lead on a Miami attack error. The RedHawks answered with four-straight to take a three-point lead (22-19) and set up set point at 25-24. The ‘Cats staved off the point, but ultimately fell in the opening set, 27-25.
The ‘Cats came back strong in set two and raced out to a 14-9 lead after a service ace from Gilleland. The Green & White stayed in front by five on a kill from Horton and held on to win the second set, 25-17.
Ohio played a much tighter set with Miami in set three, with the two teams playing to a 15-15 tie midway through the frame. The score was still tied at 23-23 and Miami set up at set point at 24-23. But Ohio closed the set with an important 3-0 run – including two kills – to take the third set, 26-24.
The Bobcats played catch up throughout set five and fell behind by six at 18-12. From there, Ohio closed within four at 19-15, but could not get any closer as Miami took the frame, 25-17.
Ohio again found itself down by four in the fifth set (8-4), but rallied with a clutch 4-0 run to tie the score at 8-8. With the score knotted at 11-11, Ohio made its crucial run, with four of the last five points of the set to win the frame, 15-12, and the match. Horton had the decisive kill for the Green & White.
Ohio now returns home for the final two MAC contests of the regular season. The Bobcats host Kent State Thursday (Nov. 14) at 7 p.m. before taking on Central Michigan Saturday (Nov. 16) at 7 p.m. The Thursday contest will be Ohio’s first ever regular season televised game (Time Warner Cable SportsChannel).