Bobcats Bounce Back at Miami

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Coming off a three-match losing streak and opening MAC Conference play with a loss to Bowling Green on Friday, the Ohio Bobcats (6-8) volleyball team looked to bounce back against their archrival, the Miami (Ohio) RedHawks(5-10). For the sixth time this year, the Bobcats won in straight sets: 25-23, 25-11 and 25-17.

The first set proved to be the toughest for the ‘Cats. For most of the set, the score bounced back-and-forth, resulting in 14 ties between the two teams. The Bobcats went down 18-15 late, but rallied behind outside hitter Kelly Lamberti and finished with an 8-5 run. Freshman setter Abby Gilleland contributed 10 assists while outside hitter Chelsea Bilger added three kills.

“We gave away a lot of points early,” said head coach Ryan Theis.  “We weren’t playing very well at the timeout and at about 17-15 [Miami’s lead], I talked about in the huddle that this is one of those situations where if you’re not playing very well, and it’s still close, just turn the corner and play good for five to ten minutes; then we’ll move onto the next game and I thought we did that in the first set, and it carried over and then I thought we played relatively efficient in two and three.”

The second set was much more comfortable for Ohio University. The Bobcats jumped ahead 6-1 early, forcing a Miami timeout. The timeout proved to be little help for the RedHawks, and the Bobcats finished the set on a 19-10 run. Heading into the third set, Gilleland had contributed 20 assists along with 13 digs, while Lamberti tacked on 10 kills.

There was no looking back from here.

The beginning of play in the third set was similar to that of the first: back-and-forth, with Ohio holding onto a 9-7 lead midway through. From there the ‘Cats took off, forcing two Miami timeouts. This halt of play had no effect on the team and the Bobcats picked up their first win in MAC Conference play.

“It’s always nice to beat a rival. Our team is from all different parts of the country right now, which is odd, and I don’t know if they fully grasp the rivalry and that the schools are over 200-years-old. They know that there’s a lot of pressure on this game; they know the fans and the community are focused in on how we do against Miami,” said Theis. “We’re gonna’ have to get better. What we want to do right now is get better each week and then be our best at the end.”

With this victory, the Bobcats picked up their first win since defeating UNC Greensboro September 13 and the Redhawks dropped their fourth match in a row. Lamberti finished with team high 17 kills and five blocks and Gilleland closed the game with a team-high 29 assists and19 digs. Ohio’s next game will be against MAC opponent Kent State at the Convocation Center on September 27 at 7 p.m.