Volleyball: Senior night highlights season finale

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It may be the final weekend of the regular season for the Ohio volleyball team, but it is certainly not acting like it.

With MAC East foes Buffalo (11-17, 4-10 MAC) and Akron (4-23, 1-13 MAC) coming to town, Ryan Theis’ Bobcats are treating these matches as a tune-up for the MAC Tournament.

“What I’m looking for is our ability to sustain good play,” he said. “If we’re going to have a chance in the conference tournament, we need to become more consistent. That’s something we’ve been struggling with lately.”

Consistency was certainly a problem for the Bobcats last week, as they found themselves in two tight matches with Kent State and Central Michigan.

“I like the way we responded down 2-1,” said Theis of both matches. “Certainly you don’t want to be in that position. Hopefully we’re a team that is tough to get three against.”

Senior Nicole Staverman sees this weekend as a confidence booster.

“It’s important for momentum purposes,” she said. “Just keep winning.”

While Buffalo and Akron are near the bottom of the MAC standings, this weekend’s games are far from meaningless: tournament seeds are still up in the air.

“Seeding is important coming into the MAC Tournament,” senior Katie Post said. “We’re at (number) 4, so we have to just make sure we get these two wins so we can hopefully stay put or jump up.”

Ohio is currently behind Western Michigan, Northern Illinois and Ball State in the overall MAC standings, but Theis is only worried about what the Bobcats can do on the court.

“There’s nothing we’ll be able to do about it,” he said. “We won’t be scoreboard watching.”

This weekend is even more meaningful to Post and Straverman, who will be playing their final game in the Convocation Center on Saturday against Akron. However, Theis knows that their work is far from over.

“We have a lot of pride in a group that has won three conference tournaments,” he said. “They’ve played roles in all of them. But they’re hoping for a sweep, and they want to keep the streak going. It doesn’t look like we’re going to get the regular season championship so they’re going to want that tournament.”

When asked about playing their final home game, both seniors were at a loss for words.

“I just hope we win,” Post said.

However, Staverman had plenty to say about her favorite memory as a Bobcat.

“I was a freshman, and I had to impress the seniors,” she remembered. “So I was doing the worm on the sidelines. I was supposed to go in the next play, but I wasn’t paying attention, I was just worming on the end of the sidelines.”

Hopefully, Ohio can “worm” their way to another conference championship.

The Bobcats take on Buffalo Friday at 7 p.m. and Akron Saturday at 7 p.m. in the Convocation Center.