Oct. 17, 2013
Friday vs. Toledo (7 p.m.) - Live Video | Live Stats
Saturday vs. Ball State (7 p.m.) - Live Video | Live Stats
ATHENS, Ohio - The Ohio University volleyball team (15-3, 5-1 MAC) will take on the top of the MAC West this weekend when Toledo and Ball State invade the Convocation Center for a pair of league matchups.
Ohio hosts the second-place Rockets (11-9, 4-2) Friday at 7 p.m. and takes on West Division-leading Ball State (17-4, 5-1) Saturday at 7 p.m.
Ohio is 5-1 in the MAC for the second-straight season and is currently first in the MAC East Division.
Last time out, the Bobcats split their two-match road trip last weekend, falling at Kent State (3-1) on Thursday before defeating Eastern Michigan (3-1) on Saturday in Ypsilanti.
The Green & White are receiving 87 votes in this week's AVCA Poll, good for No. 26 in the nation. It marks the first time the `Cats have not been in the top-25 since Sept. 16. The Green & White have been ranked a total of 47 weeks in program history.
Last weekend, Ohio held EMU to just .093 hitting for the match. The Bobcats have now limited five of their six MAC opponents below a .200 clip this season.
The Bobcats rallied from an 11-3 deficit to win the first set (25-23) at EMU, then won the second frame, 25-7. The +18 set margin was Ohio's largest since a 2009 contest vs. Akron. Ohio put together a 30-9 run between sets one and two vs. EMU.
Junior outside hitter Kelly Lamberti (Cary, Ill.) notched her 1,000th career kill on Sept. 28 and is one of just eight players to eclipse the milestone in Ohio history. After recording her 900th career dig at EMU, Lamberti is now one of just three Ohio players all-time to record 1,000 kills and 900 digs in a career.
Graduate middle blocker Alexis Pinson (Phoenix, Ariz.) repeated as MAC Defensive Player of the Week after leading Ohio with 1.4 blocks/set on the road trip. Pinson also notched 3.8 points/set and hit a team-high .444 over the two matches.
SCOUTING THE ROCKETS (11-9, 4-2 MAC)
After being picked in the preseason to finish last in the MAC West, the Rockets have gotten off to a solid start in conference play with four-straight conference victories. The last two five-set victories came over co-MAC West preseason favorites Northern Illinois and Western Michigan in Toledo.
Senior outside hitter Lauren Rafdal is leading the way for Toledo offensively with 3.92 kills/set, which is good for second in the conference. Fellow senior Dakota Harkins paces the team with a .318 hitting percentage, the conference's seventh-highest mark. Harkins also ranks seventh in the MAC in blocks with 1.01/set. A third senior, Adria Pryor is third in the MAC with 10.44 assists per set. But while veterans lead the offense, the Rockets' defense is anchored by freshman defensive specialist Ellen Hays, whose 4.52 digs/set is sixth -best in the conference.
SCOUTING THE CARDINALS (17-4, 5-1 MAC)
Ball State has already surpassed its overall win total from the 2012 season (14) and is only two wins away from equaling their conference win total from last season (7). The Cardinals have won 14 of their last 15 matches including, like Toledo, two wins over Northern Illinois and Western Michigan. They are now alone atop the MAC West with a one-game lead on Toledo.
The Cardinals' calling card this season has been their high-flying offense.The team leads the MAC is assists and kills per set and is second in service aces and third in hitting percentage. Leading the way in hitting percentage are sophomore Hayley Benson (.357) and senior Mindy Marx (.343), as the duo ranks third and sixth in the conference , respectively.
Another sophomore, Alex Fuelling, is pacing the red birds with 3.79 kills/set, which puts her at third in the MAC. Senior setter Jacqui Seidel is sixth in the league with 9.09 assists/set. Seidel (.37), Kylee Baker (.34) and Fuelling (.30) all rank in the top ten in the conference in service aces per set. On the defensive side of the net, senior defensive specialist Catie Fredrich leads the team with 4.64 digs/set.
The Bobcats hit the road to continue cross-over play with a pair of crucial MAC West matchups next weekend. The Bobcats play at Northern Illinois on Oct. 25 at 8 p.m. before battling Western Michigan on Oct. 26 (7 p.m.) in Kalamazoo.