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No. 18 Ohio Swings Through Kent, Ypsilanti

Liis Kullerkann and the Bobcats hit the road for two MAC matches this weekend.

Oct. 9, 2013


Thursday at Kent State (7 p.m.) - Live Stats | Live Video
Saturday at Eastern Michigan - Live Stats | Live Video

ATHENS, Ohio - The 18th-ranked Ohio University volleyball team (14-2, 4-0 MAC) returns to the road for two MAC contests this weekend.

Ohio plays at East Division rival Kent State (8-9, 2-2) Thursday at 7 p.m. before battling Eastern Michigan (11-8, 1-3) Saturday at 7 p.m. in Ypsilanti.

Ohio is 4-0 in the MAC for the second time in three seasons. The Bobcats’ 14-2 start matches the program’s best since 2005.

The Green & White moved up to No. 18 in the AVCA Coaches Poll this week after entering the rankings at No. 24 on Sept. 16. The Bobcats are ranked for the 47th week in program history and for the first season since 2007. Ohio achieved its highest ranking (No. 13) in that season.

The Bobcats went 2-0 last weekend with victories over Miami (3-1) and Bowling Green (3-0). Ohio was excellent at the net in the duo of matches and held a 28-13 edge in total blocks on the weekend. The Bobcats rank No. 18 in the nation in blocks/set (2.75).

Ohio also held a .261-.109 edge in hitting percentage on the weekend. The ‘Cats have limited all four of their MAC opponents under .200 hitting this season.

After averaging an impressive 5.0 points/set, 4.1 kills/set and 3.7 digs/set vs. Miami & BG, junior outside hitter Kelly Lamberti (Cary, Ill.) garnered MAC East Offensive Player of the Week honors on Monday.

It was part of a division sweep for Ohio, as graduate middle blocker Alexis Pinson (Phoenix, Ariz.) was named the MAC East Defensive Player of the Week after posting a stellar 2.43 blocks/set while also contributing 3.1 points/set on the weekend. She now ranks 10th nationally in blocks/set (1.42) this season.

Lamberti notched her 1,000th career kill on Sept. 28 and is one of just eight players to eclipse the milestone in Ohio history. Lamberti also needs just 22 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.

Kent State opened MAC play with a five-set win at Akron and after dropping contests at Buffalo and home against Bowling Green, found another conference win against Miami. The team has already surpassed their overall win total of 2012 and is one win away from equally its conference win total.The upstart Flashes are led by freshman outside hitter Bianca Cifaldi, who is tops among MAC freshmen with 3.08 kills/set.

Senior setter Aleksandra Nowak is averaging 11.25 assists/set in four conference matches, the fourth-highest total in the league. Senior libero Hannah Herc is seventh in the conference with 4.55 digs/set. Kent State’s main defensive presence at the net is 6-foot-6-inch middle blocker Liz Reikow. The junior is averaging 0.83 blocks/set and hitting at a .289 clip.

Eastern Michigan has gotten off to a slow start in conference play after winning 10 of its 15 non-conference matches. The Eagles dropped a home match to Ball State before rebounding with a win against Toledo in the opening week of conference play. Last weekend, EMU went 0-2 against two MAC West opponents (NIU and WMU).

Senior outside hitter Erin Short is pacing Ypsilanti’s squad offensively with a .328 hitting percentage while sophomore Stacey Perinar is leading the team with 2.79 kills/set. Sophomore Alyssa Davis and junior Jill Briner are sharing time at setter and are each averaging 5.01 assists/set. Defensively, the Eagles are led up front by sophomore middle blocker Kelsey Jones (1.31 blocks/set). Short and freshman Devon Murray are both averaging more than one block per set in conference play. Sophomore libero Corynne Smith is third in the conference with 4.94 digs/set.

The Bobcats return home to do battle with a pair of MAC West Division foes next weekend. The Bobcats battle Toledo on Oct. 18 at 7 p.m. before matching up with Ball State Oct. 19 at 7 p.m. inside the Convocation Center.