ATHENS, Ohio - The top-seeded Ohio University volleyball team (24-4, 14-2) opens the 2013 MAC Championship Friday with a noon contest against No. 8 Kent State at the SPIRE Institute in Geneva, Ohio. The Bobcats and Golden Flashes split two regular season meetings, with each team winning on its home floor.
The Green & White have compiled a 26-5 record in the MAC Tournament since the 2000 season. Ohio has won seven tournament titles (2003-10) over that span.
Ohio captured the MAC regular season crown for the second-straight season after sweeping Kent State (3-0) and Central Michigan (3-0) last weekend. It marked Ohio’s eighth regular season championship.
Junior outside hitter Kelly Lamberti notched her 1,000th career kill on Sept. 28 and reached the 1,000 dig mark on Nov. 16 vs. Central Michigan. Lamberti is one of just three players in the Ohio rally era to record 1,000 kills and 1,000 digs in a career.
Sophomore libero Meredith Ashy (Louisville, Ky.) also reached the 1,000 dig plateau against Central Michigan in just her second season as a Bobcat. She has recorded double-digit digs in 26 of 28 matches this season and notched a career-high 31 vs. Ball State on Oct. 19. She’s ninth in the MAC in digs/set this season (4.51).
During the Nov. 8-9 weekend, Ohio clinched the MAC East title for the 11th-straight season with a sweep of Bowling Green (3-2) and Miami (3-2).
The Bobcats have limited 14 of their 16 MAC opponents to under .200 hitting this season. Ohio leads the MAC in opponent hitting percentage (.152) in conference play.
The Bobcats are No. 37 in the latest NCAA Ratings Percentage Index (RPI) released Monday. Ohio is 1-2 against RPI top-50 opponents and 8-3 against the RPI top-100.
The ‘Cats are hitting a MAC-leading .263 as a team in 2013. The mark ranks Ohio No. 26 in the nation in hitting percentage. Ohio also is 12th in the nation in blocking with 2.83/set.
SCOUTING THE GOLDEN FLASHES (12-17, 6-10 MAC) Kent State enters the MAC Championship as the No. 8 seed after posting a 6-10 mark in league play this season. The Flashes defeated then-No. 18 Ohio on Oct. 18 in four sets, before Ohio won the back half of the series, 3-0, in Athens on Nov. 14. Ohio is 11-1 against Kent State under head coach Ryan Theis. The Bobcats are 44-23 all-time against the Golden Flashes.
Sophomore Kelly Hutchinson led the way back on Oct. 10 with 22 kills in the four-set match vs. Ohio but did not play in the rematch on Nov. 14. On the season she is averaging a team-leading 2.71 kills per set. Junior middle blocker Liz Reikow is leading the team in hitting percentage (.306) and is second in blocks per set (.76). Senior setter Alexsandra Nowak is fifth in the MAC with 9.84 assists per set, while senior libero Hannah Herc is averaging a team-high 4.21 digs per set from the back row.
UP NEXT With a victory against Kent State, No. 1 seed Ohio would take on the winner of the quarterfinal match between No. 4 Bowling Green and No. 5 Northern Illinois on Saturday at 2:30 p.m.