Published Sun, Nov 20, 2011 4:45 pm Dateline
The Bobcats continued MAC tournament play against Central Michigan Saturday evening. A meeting between the two teams earlier this season led to a five-set match, ending in a victory for the ‘Cats. This time, Central defeated the Bobcats in straight sets.
In set one, Ohio came out swinging and got a quick 3-0 lead, but Central answered with their own three-point run. Ohio was able to regain the lead until the middle of the set when Central caught up at 16-16. The ‘Cats were able to score again, but Central pounded out the last eight points of the set, winning 25-17.
The second set seemed started the same as the first. Ohio jumped out with a 3-0 lead, but again allowed Central to quickly catch up. Though the points were more back and forth throughout the set, Ohio was unable to maintain a lead. Central scored the last three points and took the set 25-22.
Another early 4-0 lead by the ‘Cats in the third set was immediately answered by Central. The teams battled point for point until a kill from Central’s Val Deweerd launched Central into a 4 point run, giving it a six point lead over Ohio (16-10). The Bobcats were unable to catch up, as Central scored another straight six points (22-11). Central took the final set 25-14.
Kelly Lamberti led the Bobcats in both kills and digs, with 11 and 8 respectively. Kaitlyn Schultz and Jenna Coats were the outstanding players for Central; Schultz totaling 13 kills and Coats with 12 digs.
Central Michigan will play Northern Illinois Sunday at 1 for the MAC Championship.
Ohio (with a national RPI of 54) has one match left before a possible NCAA Tournament trip. The 'Cats play at the University of Cincinnati (RPI #20) on Nov. 25, which will be the last chance Ohio has to impress voters and possibly sneak into the NCAA Tournament.
The Mid-American Conference may get as many as five berths into the NCAA Tournament. Northern Illinois (#16), Western Michigan (#33), Ball State (#36) and Ohio all have chances at at-large bids if Central Michigan were to beat NIU on Sunday. Ohio would most likely be the last team chosen out of the conference, if it were chosen at all. The 'Cats have made eight straight NCAA Tournament appearances.