Bobcats Victorious in Clash of Division Leaders

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Led by sophomores Chelsea Bilger and Serena Warner, Ohio defeated Western Michigan in straight sets, 25-19, 25-18, 25-23 in Athens. The win came against a Broncos team that leads the MAC West.

“Every win in the season is of equal importance,” said head coach Ryan Theis.

The win, however, gives Ohio the best record in the MAC.

Western Michigan jumped on Ohio early, taking a 2-0 lead in the first set on two kills.  The Broncos maintained the lead until kills by Bilger and sophomore Kelly Lamberti tied the game at 4-4 and gave the Bobcats a 5-4 lead.

After taking the lead, the Green and White never relinquished it. The Broncos tied the set at 11-11 and the teams exchanged points until the Ohio pulled away following a 14-14 tie.  The home team outscored Western Michigan 11-5 in the remaining set and won the set on a Lamberti kill.

The team played exceptionally well hitting .500 in the set.

“We just executed really well tonight,” said Bilger after leading her team to victory. She hit .577 on the night.

The second set played out just as well for the Bobcats as they jumped out to a 4-1 lead early on three kills and a Bronco attack error. Ohio never looked back and cruised to six point lead at 14-8 off of a kill by Serena Warner. The set was won at 25-18 on another Chelsea Bilger kill.

“I just came in feeling good tonight. When you feel good, you play well,” said Bilger. “The second set can go either way…we didn’t want to let (Western Michigan) back in. It was all guns firing.”

The third set was much different for the Bobcats as Western Michigan tested them on every point.

The set was tied at 3-3 until Ohio took a 10-5 lead on a botched set by the Broncos. The away team stormed back, however, tying the set at 12-12 and taking just their second lead of the set at 13-12 on a kill by Stephenee Yancy.

The Western Michigan lead never exceeded one point until they went up 19-17 on a service ace. It was then that Serena Warner took over, with help from Bilger.

“Chelsea played great in the third set,” said coach Theis, “but Serena saved the day for us.”

Warner helped the Bobcats score on five of their final eight points. In that span she had two kills, a block and two more plays that forced Bronco errors. Ohio forced a tie at 23-23. It was then that Warner forced the Broncos into two attack errors and the Bobcats won the set 25-23, and won the match.

Regarding his team’s victory, Theis said, “We played extremely well tonight,” and, “We earned all our points tonight.”

Ohio next takes on Miami at home Friday.