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No. 24 Volleyball Treks To Michigan Invitational

Head coach Ryan Theis and the Bobcats are nationally ranked for the first time this season.

Sept. 19, 2013


vs. Maryland - Friday, 1 p.m. (Live Stats)
vs. Marshall - Friday, 5:30 p.m. (Live Stats)
at Michigan - Saturday, 7 p.m. (Live Stats

ATHENS, Ohio - The 24th-ranked Ohio University volleyball team (8-1) heads to Ann Arbor, Mich., this weekend to wrap up non-conference tournament action at the Michigan Invitational.

Ohio kicks off the event with matchups against Maryland (1 p.m.) and Marshall (5:30 p.m.) on Friday. The 'Cats then finish up the tournament with a matchup against No. 10 Michigan on Saturday at 7 p.m.

The Green & White are coming off a 3-0 weekend at the WKU Invitational this past weekend. Ohio earned straight set victories over UNLV (Sept. 13) and No. 21 Western Kentucky (Sept. 14) before defeating ACC foe Virginia in five sets (Sept. 14).

The 3-0 win over Western Kentucky marked the first time the Hilltoppers were swept on their home floor since the 2010 season.

Outside hitters Katie Horton (Westland, Mich.) and Liis Kullerkann (Keila, Estonia) garnered WKU Invitational All-Tournament honors. Horton also was named MAC East Offensive Player of the Week after hitting .382 and posting at least 10 kills in all three matches. Kullerkann hit .356 over the three matches and recorded a career-best 14 kills vs. UVa.

Junior outside hitter Kelly Lamberti (Cary, Ill.) has notched double-doubles in four of her last five outings. On the year, Lamberti leads Ohio with 3.32 kills/set and is second with 2.68 digs/set. She ranks ninth on Ohio’s all-time kills list (rally scoring era).

With a win against Maryland on Friday, Ohio would move to 9-1 on the season for the first time since 2002. 

Ohio earned a spot in the AVCA Division I Coaches poll Monday for the first time since 2007. The Bobcats are ranked No. 24, marking the 44th week in program history the team has garnered a national ranking. Ohio achieved its highest ranking (No. 13) in 2007.

The Bobcats have held a significant advantage over their opponents at the net this season. Over the team’s first nine matches, Ohio holds a strong edge in kills/set (13.7-11.2) and blocks/set (2.5-1.7) while hitting .287, compared to .172 from its opponents.

Maryland is off to a fast start this season and has won five straight home matches without dropping a set. The Terrapins are coming off a 17-15 campaign and were picked to finish 10th in the Atlantic Coast Conference. Junior outside hitter Ashleigh Crutcher leads their attackers with 3.72 kills per set, while Adreneè Elliott, a junior middle blocker, is hitting at a team-high .373 clip. Freshman setter Julia Anderson is pacing the Terps with 6.28 assists per set. Defensively, another freshman, Ashlyn MacGregor, has averaged 1.37 blocks per set. This is the sixth meeting between Maryland and Ohio, with the Bobcats holding a 4-1 advantage. The match also will be Ohio’s third match against an ACC team this season (1-1).

Marshall is coming off a 3-0 weekend as the host of the Thunder Invitational, including a five-set win over MAC opponent Kent State. The Herd was tabbed to finish eighth in Conference USA. Preseason All-C-USA member Laura Der, a senior outside hitter, is leading the team with 2.96 kills per set and is second with 3.38 digs per set. At setter, Marshall features junior Sammie Bane ,who has averaged 9.73 assists per set. Freshman Dorothy Rahal is pacing the Herd with 3.81 digs per set. Friday will mark the 38th meeting between the Thundering Herd and the Bobcats with Ohio holding a 28-9 lead in the all-time series. The schools last met in 2011 in the Baymont Inn Invitational in Athens, when the Bobcats won in three sets.

The Michigan Invitational will conclude with a showdown between No. 10 Michigan and No. 24 Ohio. The Wolverines are coming into the weekend looking to recover from their first loss of the season, a five-set defeat at the hands of No. 17 Florida State. Michigan was picked to finish third in the Big Ten and is coming off an appearance in the 2012 NCAA Final Four. The team features three preseason All-Big Ten picks in senior middle blocker Jennifer Cross, junior setter Lexi Dannemiller and senior outside hitter Lexi Erwin. Cross - a 2012 AVCA All-American - is hitting at a .337 clip with 2.57 kills per set. Dannemiller is once again sparking the offense with 10.78 assists per set and 0.41 service aces per set. Erwin is leading Wolverines in kills per set with 3.38, a season after leading the team with 4.23. Ohio will be looking for its first victory over Michigan (0-2 all time).

Ohio opens up Mid-American Conference play with a two-match road swing. The trip begins Sept. 27 at undefeated Buffalo (7 p.m.) and wraps up at Akron (5 p.m.) on Sept. 28.