Bobcats Rebound, Down Flyers In Three

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Ohio Volleyball shook off a tough loss from the night before and cruised to a three-set victory over Dayton Saturday, 25-22, 25-19, 25-16, to conclude play at the Baymont Inn Invitational.

The Bobcats battled from behind for most of the first set. Ohio stayed within striking distance through the early part of the frame, but a 5-1 Flyers run opened up a 14-8 lead. The Bobcats crept back in the set on a 4-0 run of their own to bring the score back to 17-16.

Ohio finally grabbed its first lead in a set since the second game against UNC after two kills by senior Liis Kullerkann — separated by an Alexis Pinson ace — made it 21-20. Two points later, Kullerkann painted the line with another kill to bring Ohio to within three points of taking the game.

Ohio proceeded to win three of the final four points to steal the set from the Flyers.

“I thought it was very important to be aggressive,” Kullerkann said. “I just wanted to make sure I followed the gameplan and tried to get the kill, no matter what.”

The Bobcats grabbed the lead immediately in the second and third sets and did not relinquish it. Ohio held a consistent advantage over the Flyers in the score column for the remainder of the match, save for 0-0 in the third set.

“I challenged the team in the locker room to come out and turn around from an emotional loss and turn it into a win,” Theis said. “It was nice to work the rust off at the beginning of game one … and play better in two and three and get leads.”

Kelly Lamberti led the Bobcats with 15 kills on 39 attacks, with eight kills coming in the third set. Kullerkann added nine kills on 31 attacks after getting the start in place of the injured Chelsea Bilger.

“The nice part is we’re winning in a variety of ways,” Theis said. “[Dayton] wasn’t letting our middles score — North Carolina did that at one point last night — and today our [outside hitters] came up and took care of it.”

Abby Gilleland contributed 37 assists and five service aces. Despite also playing without senior defensive specialist Mollie Geske, Ohio held Dayton’s offense in check with 57 digs. Dayton hit .171 for the match on its attempts.

“[Geske] is kind of battling through a thumb [injury] right now so she’s been limited some in practice,” Theis said. He also mentioned that freshman Mallory Salis was playing through a minor abdominal injury.

“Today it was about just battling through. We were not in good health,” Theis said, “just getting through it and getting healthy for next weekend.”

Bilger will see a doctor Saturday night to gauge the severity of her left knee injury. She watched Saturday’s match and the back half of Friday evening’s loss from the stands behind the bench with her leg wrapped and elevated.

Ohio takes the court again next weekend in the Western Kentucky Invitational in Bowling Green, Ky. The Bobcats will again play three matches in two days against UNLV, Virginia and No. 16 Western Kentucky.