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No. 20 Ohio To Host Miami, Bowling Green

Karin Bull and the 'Cats host Dig Pink Night Saturday in the Convo.

Oct. 3, 2013


Ohio vs. Miami - Friday, 7 p.m.
Ohio vs. Bowling Green - Saturday, 7 p.m. 

ATHENS, Ohio – The 20th-ranked Ohio University volleyball team (12-2, 2-0) looks to continue its strong start to league play this weekend when two MAC East rivals invade Athens.

After playing 11 of its first 14 matches away from the Convocation, Center, Ohio returns home to host Miami on Friday at 7 p.m. before battling Bowling Green Saturday at 7 p.m. Since the start of the 2011 season, the ‘Cats have posted a 24-7 record inside the Convo.

The match vs. BG on Saturday will serve as Ohio’s annual “Dig Pink” contest. The Bobcats are partnering with the Side-Out Foundation again this season with a goal of raising $1,500 for breast cancer awareness and research. Ohio has raised more than $10,000 through the initiative in head coach Ryan Theis’ six seasons in Athens.

The Bobcats moved up to No. 20 in the AVCA Coaches Poll this week after entering the rankings at No. 24 on Sept. 16. The Bobcats are ranked for the 46th week in program history and for the first season since 2007. Ohio achieved its highest ranking (No. 13) in that season.

Last time out, Ohio went 2-0 in their MAC opening weekend for the 10th time in 11 seasons. Ohio won at Buffalo (3-1) on Friday and at Akron (3-0) on Saturday to wrap up the road trip sweep. Ohio put forth its best service performance of the season on the trip, notching a +11 edge in aces on the weekend. The ‘Cats posted six aces to Buffalo’s two on Friday and held an 8-1 edge in the category on Saturday.

Junior outside hitter Kelly Lamberti (Cary, Ill.) notched her 1,000 career kill Saturday at Akron and is one of just eight players to eclipse the milestone in Ohio history. Lamberti also needs just 48 digs to reach 900 for her career. At that point, she will be one of just three Ohio players all-time to record 1,000 kills and 900 digs in a career.

Miami won eight of its first nine matches but has since dropped five consecutive contests. The RedHawks fell in five-set matches to Bowling Green and Western Michigan to open conference play. Miami is led by 6-foot-5-inch middle hitter Jenny Ingle, who is pacing the team offensively with 2.91 kills/set. She also leads the MAC with an outstanding .406 hitting percentage.

The visitors from Oxford will deploy two setters - freshman Krista Brakauskas and junior Meg Riley - who average 5.98 and 4.95 assists/set respectively. Riley, a 2012 All-MAC First Team member is also averaging 2.61 kills/set. Miami is paced on the back line by senior Madison Hardy (3.83 digs/set) and junior Tori Clifford (3.46 digs/set). Ingle’s length has allowed her to disrupt opponent attacks, as her 1.09 blocks/set ranks sixth in the conference. The Bobcats will be looking to draw closer in the all-time series with Miami. Ohio is 29-44 against their arch-rival, including an 11-2 mark under Coach Theis.

The MAC East preseason favorite got off to a 2-0 conference start with wins at Miami and home against NIU. Bowling Green completed a tough non-conference schedule with a 3-8 record, including a win against then-No. 13 BYU. The Falcons feature three seniors who earned All-MAC First Team honors in 2012: Lindsey Butterfield, Paige Penrod and Danielle Tonyan.

Butterfield is pacing the offense with 3.23 kills/set, which is good for eighth in the conference. She is also coming off a week in which she collected 4.5 kills/set en route to earning MAC Offensive Player of the Week. Penrod is right behind her at ninth in the MAC (3.21 kills/set). Junior setter Erica Fullenkamp’s 8.37 assists/set puts her at eighth in the conference. On the defensive side of the court, Skinner is third in the conference in blocks (1.38/set) and Ashley Dunn ranks eighth in digs (4.29/set). The Bobcats split their two meetings with the Falcons last season and are 29-42 all-time against their in-state rivals (8-2 under Theis).

The Bobcats hit the road for a pair of MAC matches next week. Ohio plays at Kent State (7-8, 1-1) on Oct. 10 at 7 p.m. before taking on Eastern Michigan (11-6, 1-1) Oct. 12 at 7 p.m. in Ypsilanti, Mich.