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Ohio Aims For MAC Title This Weekend vs. KSU, CMU

OHIOBOBCATS.COM Meredith Ashy and the Bobcats can claim the No. 1 seed in the MAC Tournament this weekend.
Meredith Ashy and the Bobcats can claim the No. 1 seed in the MAC Tournament this weekend.

Nov. 13, 2013

Thursday - Ohio vs. Kent State (7 p.m.): ESPN3 Link | Live Stats
Saturday vs. Central Michigan (7 p.m.): Live Video | Live Stats

ATHENS, Ohio - The Ohio University volleyball team can wrap up the No. 1 seed in the 2013 Mid-American Conference when it concludes MAC regular season play this weekend with two matches in the Convocation Center.

Ohio hosts Kent State Thursday at 7 p.m. and takes on Central Michigan Saturday at 7 p.m.. Thursday's matchup with Kent State will be televised locally on Time Warner Cable SportsChannel and across the nation on ESPN3. Mike Cairns will handle play-by-play duties, while Michelle Mimna will provide color commentary. It will mark the first regular season televised game in Ohio program history.

Saturday's contest vs. CMU will mark the program's annual Senior Night celebration. Prior to the match, Ohio's four seniors will be honored for their outstanding contributions to the program.

Ohio sits in first place in the MAC with a 12-2 league mark. The Bobcats' 22-4 overall start is the program's best since the 2007 season. With two wins this weekend, Ohio will clinch the No. 1 seed in next weekend's MAC Championship. The Bobcats would also claim the MAC regular season title for the second-straight season and earn the right to host the MAC Championship during the 2014 season.

The Bobcats jumped seven spots to No. 35 in the latest NCAA Ratings Percentage Index (RPI) released Monday. Ohio is 2-2 against RPI top-50 opponents and 9-3 against the RPI top-100.

This past weekend, Ohio clinched the MAC East title for the 11th-straight season with a sweep of Bowling Green (3-2) and Miami (3-2).

Sophomore setter Abby Gilleland (Bull Valley, Ill.) notched her 2,000th career assist Saturday at Miami during a personal-best 61 assist performance against the RedHawks. Gilleland ranks fourth all-time at Ohio (rally era) in assists (2,027).

In addition to Gilleland, two other Bobcats are approaching career milestones this weekend. Junior outside hitter Kelly Lamberti (Cary, Ill.) is just eight digs from 1,000 for her career, while sophomore libero Meredith Ashy (Louisville, Ky.) is 30 digs away from the mark. 

Kent State sits in third place in the MAC East, but is the only MAC East team that has beaten Ohio this season. In the first match between these two squads, the Golden Flashes knocked off the then-No. 18 Bobcats (25-23, 21-25, 25-18 and 25-22).

Sophomore Kelly Hutchinson led the way back on Oct. 10 with 22 kills in the four-set match. On the season she is averaging 2.71 kills per set. Junior middle blocker Liz Reikow is leading the team in hitting percentage (.308) and is second in kills per set (2.68) and blocks per set (.73). Senior setter Alexsandra Nowak is fifth in the MAC with 9.94 assists per set and had 43 in the previous meeting with Ohio. Senior libero Hannah Herc is averaging a team-high 4.16 digs per set from the back row.

Entering the season Central Michigan received three first place votes to win the MAC West, but the Chippewas are sitting at fifth in the MAC West and have dropped their last four matches to the teams above them in the standings.

Outside hitter Kaitlyn McIntyre is on pace to repeat as an All-MAC honoree. The junior is second in the conference with 3.94 kills per set and is second on the team with 2.58 digs/set. Senior setter Kelly Maxwell is also second in the conference with her 10.82 assists per set. Another 2012 First Team All-MAC performer, Jenna Coates, is second in the conference with 5.34 digs per set. Sophomore Angie White is just outside the conference's top ten in blocks per set with .94.

Ohio will compete in the 2013 MAC Championship beginning Friday, November 22 at the SPIRE Institute in Geneva, Ohio.