Nov. 30, 2013
RICHMOND, Va. – The Ohio University volleyball team (27-5) dropped a 3-1 contest at Virginia Commonwealth (26-8) to close out the regular season Saturday at Verizon Wireless Arena.
Ohio finishes non-conference play with a 13-3 record and will now wait to see where the team will open the 2013 NCAA Tournament. The Bobcats will learn their seed and opening site location on Sunday at 9:30 p.m. when the full field is revealed on ESPNU.
The Bobcats hit .292 in Saturday’s contest and held advantages in kills (58-57) and total blocks (8-5). But the Green & White made 11 service errors and were out-dug by the Rams, 50-43.
“I thought VCU played well,” head coach Ryan Theis said. “We haven’t seen that type of tempo all year and it’s a handful. Usually we serve well enough to slow teams down, but not tonight. We just couldn’t get into a rhythm in the service game.”
Freshman outside hitter Katie Horton (Westland, Mich.) excelled for the Bobcats in the contest with a team-high 13 kills while hitting at a .440 clip. Horton also knocked down four blocks, including two solo, in the contest.
“I thought our offense did some good things,” Theis said. “It was good to see Katie continue her very strong second half of the season.”
Sophomore middle blocker Karin Bull (Bloomington, Minn.) added 11 kills and hit .320 on the night, while redshirt junior right side Liis Kullerkann (Keila, Estonia) chipped in 10 kills and three total blocks.
Graduate middle blocker Alexis Pinson (Phoenix, Ariz.) hit a team-high .500 and knocked down eight kills and four total blocks in the contest. With her fourth block, she moved into a tie with Lexie Hartnett and Laura Hageman for the fourth-most blocks in a season in Ohio history (rally era).
Setter Abby Gilleland (Bull Valley, Ill.) registered 41 assists and 11 digs to record her 11th double-double of the season. The sophomore also tallied five kills and hit .417 against VCU.
On the back row, sophomore libero Meredith Ashy (Louisville, Ky.) recorded 10 digs for the Bobcats, while junior outside hitter Kelly Lamberti also posted 10 digs and knocked down eight kills for the Bobcats. Ashy’s 536 digs this season ranks third-most in Ohio single season history.
The Bobcats put forth one of their most efficient sets of the season in the opening frame and raced out to an 11-3 lead. A kill from Lamberti extended the edge to 11 (15-4) and Ohio went ahead by 15 at 21-6 after a VCU attack error. The Bobcats held on the win the set, 25-13. The Green & White hit a solid .481 and knocked down 15 kills in the frame.
VCU led 5-2 in set two, but Ohio quickly cut the lead to one (8-7) on a kill from Pinson. With the Rams leading 10-9, VCU put together a 6-1 run that gave the home team a 16-10 advantage. VCU extended its edge to seven (20-13), but Ohio responded with four of the next five points to trim the lead to four (21-17). The Bobcats could not move any closer for the rest of the frame, however, and the Rams took the second set, 25-20.
Ohio jumped out to a 7-3 lead in the third set, but VCU rallied to tie the score at 11. The Rams then notched four of the next five points to take a 15-12 lead and went up by four at 20-16. From there, Ohio cut the lead to two (23-21), then tied up the score (23-23) on a kill from Kullerkann. VCU forced set point at 24-23, but Ohio staved off the clincher on three occasions. However, the ‘Cats could not move ahead and ultimately fell to the Rams, 27-25, in the third set.
The teams went back and forth in the fourth set, before VCU used a 9-1 run to build a seven-point cushion at 19-12. Ohio cut the lead to three at (22-19) after a kill from Horton and were within two (23-21) after a block from Kullerkann and Pinson. But VCU rattled off two of the final three points of the game to win the match.
The loss snapped Ohio’s 11-match winning streak and marked the first setback for Ohio since an Oct. 19 contest against Ball State.
Stay tuned to OhioBobcats.com tomorrow night to see where the Bobcats will open the 2013 NCAA Tournament next week! The NCAA Selection Show will air on ESPNU Sunday at 9:30 p.m.