Bobcats Rock NIU, Make MAC Final

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Two down, one to go. Ohio Volleyball moved a step closer to accomplishing another goal Saturday with a 3-0 win over Northern Illinois in the semifinals of the Mid-American Conference Volleyball Championship, 25-22, 25-22, 25-23.

The Bobcats lost to Northern Illinois in the semifinals of last season's MAC Tournament.

Saturday, Ohio closed three close sets in its favor to move on to the MAC title game.

The Green and White turned a 12-12 tie into a 16-12 lead behind two aces by defensive specialist Brooke Coleman. The Huskies rallied to take the lead at 21-20, but Ohio won five of the last six points to take a 1-0 advantage.

In the second set, Ohio fell behind 6-3 but used a 6-1 run to take a 9-7 lead. The Bobcats extended their lead to 6 points (20-14) before Northern Illinois rattled off three straight points to cut the deficit to 3. Ohio surged ahead to take a 23-18 lead, but a 4-point Northern Illinois swing brought the Huskies within 1. But back-to-back kills by Liis Kullerkann and Karin Bull ended the game and put Ohio up 2-0 at the break.

Set three saw Northen Illinos grab an 8-3 lead, but an 8-1 run put the Bobcats ahead 11-9. The Huskies took back the lead at 17-15, but Ohio responded with back-to-back points to tie the score. The teams traded points to a 22-22 tie before an Alexis Pinson block solo pushed Ohio ahead 23-22. NIU tied the game once more, but Ohio held on to win the next two points and the match.

Bull and freshman Katie Horton had 10 kills apiece to lead the team. Pinson had five kills and was involved in all three of Ohio's total blocks.

Ohio out-killed Northern Illinois 45-36, though both sides had trouble killing the ball. The Huskies .162 hitting percentage was only slightly lower than Ohio's .182. NIU had 61 digs as a team to Ohio's 52. Libero Meredith Ashy led the Bobcats with 18 digs.

Ohio will play No. 7 Eastern Michigan in the MAC title game Sunday at 1 p.m. after the Eagles swept No. 6 Western Michigan in the evening semifinal game.