GENEVA, Ohio – The top-seeded Ohio University volleyball team (25-4) surged past No. 8 seed Kent State (12-18) Friday afternoon, 3-0 (25-21, 25-23, 25-19), in MAC Quarterfinal action at the SPIRE Institute.
With the victory, Ohio advanced to the semifinals where the Bobcats will take on fifth-seeded Northern Illinois Saturday at 2:30 p.m.
The Bobcats held a 62.5-41 edge in total points for the match and knocked down 10.5 blocks to Kent State’s seven. Ohio hit a solid .252 in the contest and limited the Flashes to a .152 clip on the afternoon.
Junior outside hitter Kelly Lamberti (Cary, Ill.) - a 2013 First Team All-MAC selection – led the Ohio offense with 13 kills while hitting at a .417 clip from the left side. MAC All-Freshman selection Katie Horton (Westland, Mich.) also played well on the left for Ohio with 11 kills, three total blocks and a .391 hitting percentage.
Another First Team All-MAC Bobcat – graduate middle blocker Alexis Pinson (Phoenix, Ariz.) – showed her mettle with nine kills and an impressive seven total blocks (2.3/set). She is now seventh on the Ohio single season blocks list (152) and fourth on the block assists ledger (141).
Sophomore setter Abby Gilleland – the 2013 MAC Player of the Year – posted a match-high 37 assists (12.3/set) while adding eight digs, three blocks and two service aces in the contest.
On the back row, sophomore libero Meredith Ashy (Louisville, Ky.) contributed a match-high 11 digs, while freshman outside hitter/libero (Oak Lawn, Ill.) added five digs, three service aces and two kills on four attempts (.500).
Kent State led by one (11-10) early in the first set before three-straight kills from right side Liis Kullerkann (Keila, Estonia) moved Ohio ahead by two at 13-11. From there, the Green & White put together another 3-0 run – highlighted by a kill and ace from Lamberti – to extend the cushion to five (19-14). Kent State cut the lead to two at 23-21, but the Bobcats rattled off the final two points of the set, capped by an ace from freshman defensive specialist Geneva Yee (Milwaukee, Wis.), to win the frame, 25-21.
Ohio trailed by four (10-6) early in the first set, but two blocks and two kills from Pinson over a four-point stretch fueled a 5-0 run that gave Ohio a 14-11 lead. Kent State raced back to re-take the lead at 17-18, but a mini 3-0 run by the ‘Cats moved Ohio back ahead by two at 21-19. The Bobcats hung on by that margin to win set two, 25-23.
With the two teams tied at 4-4 in the third set, Ohio took advantage of a strong Gilleland service game (two aces) to put together a 7-0 run and build an 11-4 lead. The Bobcats extended the edge to nine (15-6) and stayed in front by that margin (19-10) after a kill from Pinson. Kent State used a 6-1 run to move back within four (20-16), but Ohio posted five of the final eight points of the set to win the frame (25-19) and sweep the match.