Nov. 17, 2012
GENEVA, Ohio - Ohio Volleyball was stunned this afternoon in the semifinals of the Mid-American Conference Tournament by No. 4 seed Northern Illinois in five sets, 25-32, 25-21, 18-25, 22-25, 11-15.
Chelsea Bilger paced Ohio with 20 kills and teammate Kelly Lamberti finished with 19. Senior Faith Robins also produced 14 kills for the 'Cats. On the afternoon, the Green and White struggled offensively, hitting only .161.
After hitting .312 and .227 in the first two games, Ohio managed to only hit .026, .149 and .000 over the next three.
Lamberti closed the regular season with another double-double, after leading the team with 25 digs. Abby Gilleland finished with 53 assists and 14 digs for a double-double of her own. Meredith Ashy tallied 23 digs and Mollie Geske added 13.
Serena Warner ended the match with seven blocks and Robins added five as Ohio finished with 11.0 team blocks.
With the first set tied, Ohio scored four of the next five points as Bilger and Bull combined on a block to make the score 19-16. After NIU tied the score at 21-21, Bilger and Robins recorded kills to force a Husky timeout.
After NIU tied the score once more, Robins delivered another kill and an attack error allowed the Bobcats to take a 1-0 lead in the match. Bilger, Lamberti and Robins were extremely effective in the set, combining for 21 of the team's 23 kills.
Ohio jumped out to a 9-4 lead in the second set as an ace by Warner capped an early run. A kill by Bilger made the score 14-8, Ohio's largest margin, and forced NIU to use its second timeout of the game.
The Huskies cut the margin to three on a few occasions, but got no closer as Ohio took a commanding 2-0 lead in the match. The Bobcats managed to record four blocks, its most of any set, with Robins chipping in on three of them.
The third set was tied 9-9 when momentum started to swing. NIU scored seven of the next eight points and never looked back en route to an easy 25-18 victory. Ohio committed 10 attack errors and NIU blocked four attempts to get back in the match.
Set number four was back-and-forth as no team led by more than two points when an attack error gave Ohio an 18-16 lead. A kill by Warner eventually pushed the margin to three at 20-17.
A kill by Robins made the score 22-20 Ohio and forced NIU to use its final timeout. Teetering on the brink, the Huskies responded with five points in a row to win the set 25-22 and even the match. Bilger had six kills in the set for the Green and White, but the rest of the offense struggled.
Lexie Hartnett and Warner got Ohio off to a good start in the final set and the lead was still two points when Lamberti and Warner combined on a block at 6-4. After falling behind by a point, the 'Cats rallied and took an 11-10 lead on a NIU error.
Unfortunately, it was all Northern Illinois after that play as the No. 4 seed scored the final five points of the set to stun the regular-season champion Bobcats in five sets.
Ohio will now hope for an at-large berth to the NCAA Tournament and it can help its chances when it hosts Notre Dame on Friday night at 7 p.m. The Bobcats currently have a RPI of 60.