Volleyball Fights Back, Beats Pitt in Five-Set Marathon

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Ohio clawed its way past Pittsburgh 3-2 (24-26, 25-23, 20-25, 26-24, 21-19) at Fitzgerald Field House in a five set thriller, as four of the five sets were decided by two points. After trailing two sets to one, the Bobcats took control early in the fourth and fifth sets to improve to .500 on the young season (5-5).

After slow starts in the first three sets, the green and white jumped out to quick runs to start the fourth and fifth set. In the deciding frame, Ohio used a 5-1 run, marked by two kills from Chelsea Bilger, one from Faith Robins and one from Lexie Hartnett, to take an 8-4 lead. Pitt would not go quietly and made a strong run of its own, they took five points to Ohio’s one to take back the lead 14-12, earning the tiebreak’s set point.

Lamberti’s kill tied the set at 14 and the set was tied five times as both teams fought for the win. Lamberti stole the show for Ohio in the final points of the match. Tied at 18, she fueled a 3-1 run for the Bobcats with two kills and an ace. With the ‘Cats up 20-19, an attack error by Panther Kiesha Leggs sealed the victory for the green and white.

Lamberti stuffed the stat book with 21 kills and 20 digs. Bailey Karst led the team with 33 assists and Leah Petrovich added 22 assists. Chelsea Bilger contributed 16 kills and 13 digs while Lexie Hartnett posted 10 kills.

In the first set, Ohio was down by six points twice in the match, at 5-11 and at 9-15. They battled back to tie Pitt (8-3) at 24 after a bad set from Panther Jessica Wynn. Pittsburgh’s Lindsey Zitzke hit home an ace to put her team up 1-0.

Ohio did not let Pittsburgh lead by more than four in the second set. After being tied at 19, the teams traded kills as the Bobcats tried to get ahead, but the Panthers kept matching their efforts. After a kill by Pitt’s Monica Wignot drew them to within one at 24-23, Ohio’s Lexie Hartnett ended the set with a kill. Ohio finished with fewer kills than Pitt in the second set, 14-18, but still took the set.

The Bobcats lost the lead in the third set for good after Pitt went up 7-6 on a kill by Jasmine Dittrich. They would drop that set by five.

The Bobcats got out to a fast start in the fourth set, leading 6-1 after two assisted blocks and two kills from senior Katie Post. Pittsburgh took a timeout to regroup, then broke off an 11-3 run to make the score 12-9 in their favor. Ohio would drop back by as many as five points after a kill from Panther Kiesha Leggs made the set 18-13. After an Ohio timeout, the Bobcats took a 4-1 run to close their deficit to two at 17-19. Pitt had set point with Ohio down by four, but blocks by Katie Post and Leah Petrovich, as well as a kill by Petrovich tied the set at 24. Two straight kills from Kelly Lamberti and Post sealed the set for the Bobcats and forced a fifth set, where Ohio is 3-1 in 2011.

Ohio wraps up non-conference play this weekend with four games at the Georgia Southern Volleyball Tournament. The Bobcats will face off against South Carolina State and host Georgia Southern on Saturday, and finish the four-game slate with Georgia State and Presbyterian on Sunday.