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Bobcats Capture Own Tourney Title

ATHENS, Ohio - The host Bobcats defeated Idaho 3-1 (30-18, 30-25, 28-30, 30-22) and West Virginia 3-0 (30-20, 30-22, 31-29) to go 3-0 for the weekend and capture the AmeriHost Inn & Suites Invitational.

The three wins stretched Ohio's home winning streak to 29 matches, second only to Hawai'i's 38.

"I though today was an important day for us," Head Coach Geoff Carlston said. "I knew it was going to be a long day and I knew we were going to play two teams that are a little better with different styles."

Stephanie Blackburn (Cincinnati, Ohio) and Savanah Parra (Temecula, Calif.) were the story for the Bobcats in the Idaho match. Blackburn put down a career-best 27 kills with a team-best .385 hitting percentage. Parra's 67 assists were the highlight to a breakout tournament. The 67 assists is the most from a Bobcat since Michelle Gil had 70 Sept. 9, 2000 against Dartmouth.

Julia Winkfield (Newark, Ohio) and Melissa Griffin (Whitehall, Mich.) also had double-digit kills with 13 each. Michaele Blackburn (Cincinnati, Ohio) led three Bobcats in double-digit digs with 22 while Stephanie Blackburn added 19 and Molly Mangan (Clare, Ill.) 15.

The Bobcats controlled the action the first frame, hitting .286 for the game while holding Idaho to only a .077 hitting percentage to win 30-18. Ohio kept the pressure on in the second game, winning 30-25.

The Vandals came back in the third, outhitting the Bobcats .273 to .226. The game went back and forth throughout with neither team holding a lead bigger than three points. Ohio trailed 24-21 but came back to tie the game at 28. Idaho would not go away though, winning the final two points to win the game 30-28. The loss ended a 28-game home winning streak dating back to Sept. 25, 2004, when the Bobcats dropped a game to Miami.

Ohio rebounded from its game three loss, saving its best for last. The Bobcats had their best hitting percentage of the match, hitting at a .298 clip. Ohio trailed 6-4 early in the game but then ran off nine consecutive points behind the serving of Stephanie Blackburn. The Bobcats did not let up after that, closing out the match with a 30-22 game four win.

"We really rebounded back after losing a game to Idaho," Carlston said. "We maintained our composure which is really good."

The Bobcats carried over their momentum from the Idaho match in to the West Virginia match. As was the trend the entire weekend, Ohio dominated the opening game of the match. The Bobcats hit .395 for the game in winning 30-20. The Ohio offense was not as strong in the second game, but the defense picked up the intensity holding the Mountaineers to a .093 hitting percentage in winning 30-22.

West Virginia made the third game interesting by battling the Bobcats throughout the game. The biggest lead of the game was three points with each team holding a three-point advantage at least once. The game had 20 ties including ties at 19 through 29. Ohio won the last two points of the game to seal the victory with a 31-29 win.

In other action today, West Virginia defeated the University of Tennessee-Martin 3-0.

Parra and Winkfield were both named to the All-Tournament Team following the conclusion of the matches. Saxony Brown and Andrea Fox of Idaho, Stephanie Zolna and Aurora Ebert-Santos of West Virginia and Tammy Konitzer of Tennessee-Martin were also named to the team.

"Savanah did a great job at setter," Carlston said. "She ran a really good show and made good choices and I though Julia really picked it up when we needed it."

The Bobcats will be in action next when they compete in the Louisville Labor Day Invitational Sept. 2-4. Ohio will open with Tennessee State Sept. 2 at 5 p.m.