Nov. 14, 2009
BOWLING GREEN, Ohio -
Ohio volleyball wrapped up the Mid-American Conference regular season Saturday night in much the same way it did many matches in 2009, with a sweep, defeating Bowling Green 3-0 (25-19, 26-24 and 25-21). The Bobcats improved their season tally to 23-5 while finishing MAC play with a 15-1 clip.
A day after clinching the conference championship outright and ensuring itself the No. 1 overall seed in next weekend's MAC Tournament, Ohio added a proverbial cherry on top of its successful campaign by ensuring itself its sixth season in the last seven years with 15-or-more conference wins. The victory also gave the `Cats their second sweep of BGSU (12-19, 5-11 MAC) and their 12th sweep in MAC play this year.
"This was a good way to wrap up a great conference season," Ohio coach Ryan Theis said. "It has been an extreme pleasure to coach this team this year. Each players' contributions have been important, and we have had a different MVP each match. That is the makeup of a conference champion team. Now, we turn our attention to the postseason and playing at our very best there."
Mandy Nichols (Greenwood, Ind.) started the first game of her career at Ohio at left side and helped pace a balanced Green and White attack with a match-high 12 kills on 31 attempts while also adding five digs. Junior Michelle Jantsch (Mission Hills, Kan.) recorded a double-double with 32 assists and 10 digs while picking up five kills on .556 hitting. Sue Jacobi (Louisville, Ky.) and Meghan Simons (Lancaster, Ohio) tallied nine kills and eight kills, respectively, with Simons hitting a blistering .615 on 13 attacks with no errors. Simons also paced the `Cats at the nets with a match-high five blocks. Jacobi, Katie Post (Steamwood, Ill.) and Faith Robins (Winston-Salem, N.C.) each recorded three blocks, while Sarah Petrulis (Westlake, Ohio) and Nicole Staverman (Edgewood, Ky.) each posted seven digs.
In almost a mirror image of past matches this season, Ohio hit .337 as a unit while holding the Falcons to just a .179 effort behind nine total blocks on the evening. The `Cats hit .346 and committed just one error en route to winning the first set 25-19.
Set two went back and forth nearly the entire way. With the score knotted at 24, Ohio forced a Falcon hitting error and Nichols slammed down a kill to take the close win. BGSU would not go down without a fight and kept things close in the third set before a late Ohio fueled by kills from Simons, Nichols and Robins pulled the `Cats ahead for good.
"We had good offense tonight," Theis said. "We played strong defense as well and got a lot of blocks in the first and second sets. A lot of players stepped up played well for us tonight. We missed some serves in both matches this weekend, but in key moments it was a strong service game that ended up winning both matches."
Ohio will now turn its attention to the conference tournament next weekend. By virtue of its No. 1 overall seed, the `Cats earned a bye into the quarterfinals and will begin play Friday at 4:30 p.m. at the Seagate Center in Toledo.