Ohio Upsets No. 8 Oregon

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Ohio Volleyball began the season with a perfect weekend, capping off their stay at the Oregon Classic with a 3-0 upset of No. 8 Oregon in Eugene, 25-21, 25-22, 25-19.

Chelsea Bilger stepped up in a big way for Ohio in the first set. The junior Preseaon All-MAC selection made her first start of the season against the Ducks and pounded five kills on seven attempts in the opening frame.

Bilger ended a long point with a decisive kill to give Ohio set point at 24-21. Abby Gilleland finished off the set with a kill on a second-touch attempt.

The first set victory snapped Oregon’s 19-set home win streak.

But Ohio was far from content with just that.

The Bobcats battled through a tight second set to take a commanding 2-0 lead into the locker room at intermission.

A 6-1 Oregon run gave the Ducks an 18-16 lead in the frame, prompting a timeout by Ohio coach Ryan Theis. Out of the timeout, the two teams battled back-and-forth before two consecutive Ohio points cut the lead to 21-20, forcing Oregon coach Jim Moore to call timeout.

Out of the Oregon timeout, an ace by Gilleland knotted the set at 21-21. On the ensuing point, a Kelly Lamberti kill attempt appeared to go long. However, after a short conference, the officials determined that Oregon touched the ball on the block attempt and awarded Ohio the point, giving the ‘Cats a 22-21 lead.

Ohio used the momentum from the call to win three of the next four points and take a two-set lead.

Ohio was in control for the majority of the third set, never trailing after 1-1 in the frame. Oregon rallied for four straight points to cut the lead to 20-18, but an attack error halted the run, and the Bobcats responded to win five of the final six points.

Errors haunted the Ducks in a tightly contested match. Oregon commited 17 errors as a team, compared to just 11 by the Bobcats. Ohio also hammered eight more kills than the nationally ranked Duck and out-blocked Oregon 12-7.

Sophomore libero Meredith Ashy had 22 digs, including several successful diving attempts to keep key points alive. The reigning Co-MAC Freshman of the Year also added six assists and had no return errors.

Lamberti scored 13 kills on 31 attempts, and Bilger added 10 on 19. Graduate transfer Alexis Pinson contributed nine kills on 17 attempts.

Gilleland had five kills, using the second touch attempt as a weapon throughout the match. She also assisted on 36 points.

Ohio returns home next weekend to host its own round-robin tournament, the Ohio Invitational. The Bobcats will welcome Cincinnati, North Carolina and No. 22 Dayton to the Convo for the two-day even next Friday and Saturday.