Ohio Volleyball Faces Tough Opponents In Hawaii

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The Ohio volleyball team will take on some of the country’s elite opponents during the Chevron Rainbow Wahine Invitational in Honolulu, Hawaii.

Coming off a 27-6 season that included an appearance in the NCAA tournament, the Bobcats are no strangers to fierce competition from some of the country’s best teams.

“There’s definitely pressure involved,” said junior libero Meredith Ashy. “I mean every tournament we go into there’s pressure. Last year we were playing against some top 25 teams and we beat them. It’s just a matter of how our team is in the atmosphere.”

The emphatic fans of the Stan Sherriff Center and a six-hour time difference are just two of the factors that will affect the outcome of the weekend. After two and a half weeks of playing against each other, Hannah Burkle and her teammates look forward to the challenge of facing non-green and white jerseys for the first time this season.

“It’s going to be a lot different obviously, but a lot of fun too,” the senior middle blocker said.

The unranked Bobcats are looking forward to making some noise in the tournament as well as at home this season with the support of the best fans in the MAC. The team spent time last week visiting local businesses and distributing flyers around campus, urging the community and students to visit the Convocation Center to see the Cats in action.

“We’re working really hard on getting our name out there to the community,” Burkle said.

“We want to show our community that we can contend with these top 100 or top 25 teams,” Ashy added.

The Cats will take on two top 25 teams this weekend and go on to face top 100 RPI teams in their first eight games of the season.

“I think it makes me excited,” said Ashy. “We’re the underdogs and I think they’re more nervous to play us than we are them because we have nothing to lose.”

Even though their eyes are currently set on the tournament in the aloha state, the 'Cats seem conscious of the competition coming to the Convo and MAC play later this season.

“Because we have a strong conference I think we’re always ready and prepared for anything,” Burkle said.

The Bobcats have been going the extra mile under first year head coach Deane Webb to prepare for the consistent high level of competition they will see this season.

“Deane’s been pushing us really hard in practices,” Burkle said. “He always says to push us 20 percent harder than any other team would when we’re in practice so we’re always ready for a high level of volleyball.”

While only falling in two regular season conference games to Kent State and Ball State last season, Ohio is persistent in performing to the high standards the program has put in place, no matter the opponent.

"I think a good thing is to come out to every single team the exact same because you never know how they’re going to play or how we’re going to play so we always come out fighting no matter who it is,” Burkle said.

The green and white kick off their tournament play in Honolulu Saturday at 1:30 a.m. easter time against No. 17 Hawaii and then go on to play San Diego State that night at 11:30 p.m. Play continues on Sunday as Ohio challenges No. 25 Arizona State at 9 p.m. They will return to the Convo Sept. 5 as the hosts of the Baymont Inn and Suites Invitational.