Sun Devils Hold Off Bobcats In Five

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The Ohio volleyball team came up short against No. 25 Arizona State (3-0) Sunday in its final match of the Chevron Rainbow Wahine Invitational in Honolulu, Hawaii.

Ohio had a slow start, being limited to only six kills and forced into six errors by Arizona State, contributing a 20-9 Sun Devil lead out the gate.

The Cats battled back in the second set, trading points throughout. Leading 13-12, the Bobcats quickly built a six point advantage in a stretch that included a kill and three service aces by freshman Jaime Kosiorek. After some more trading of points back and forth, another Kosiorek ace would hand Arizona State its first set loss of the weekend and tie the match, 1-1.

The third set displayed momentum changes and the trading of points all the way up until an 18-18 tie. The Sun Devils then put together three straight points to take a 21-18 lead. Effective blocking from the Bobcats brought back the game to a 24-all after three straight game points for Arizona State. The Sun Devils ended the set with back-to-back double blocks to take the 2-1-match lead.

The Bobcats came out swinging early in the fourth set, jumping to a 12-8 lead on four kills from Kelly Lamberti. Tossing momentum back and forth, the Bobcats found themselves with the 23-21 lead off a 5-1 run behind the service skills of Kosiorek and swings of Lamberti. Arizona State would find the energy to rally back and take a 24-23 lead, though, forcing a match-point situation. Aware of the situation at hand, Ohio took advantage of a service error by the Sun Devils ensured a fifth set with a Lamberti kill and a double block by Lamberti and Karin Bull.

Ohio would never gain any momentum in the fifth set, with Arizona State jumping out to a 9-1 lead and surging on to the victory.

Lamberti and Kosiorek powered the Ohio offense for a second straight match.

Kosiorek tallied double digit kills again with 13 and added eight service aces on the night.

“It was so incredible just to see that kid really grow up over the weekend,” said head coach Deane Webb of the freshman. ”You don't see eight aces against a top-25 team by one player. She's worked really hard on it the last couple of weeks, and it's exciting for her future."

Lamberti recorded a match-high 20 kills and achieved a double-double with 17 digs. Her performances over the weekend earned her a spot on the All-tournament team.

The trio of junior Shelby Walker, junior Karin Bull and senior Hannah Burkle combined to help Ohio tally 26 blocks. Walker posted a career-high eight to lead the match; Bull posted six, and Burkle added a career-high six.

"That was definitely a plus all weekend for us," Webb said. "That's something that our team has done well, historically, and that was the case again this weekend."

Junior setter Abby Gilleland matched her season-high from the previous match with 38 assists while junior libero Meredith Ashy tallied a team-high 18 digs.

Ending the opening weekend of play 1-2, coach Webb was pleased with the effort and improvement his squad made in three matches.

"I think we are improving rapidly," said the first-year Ohio head coach. " I can say, without a doubt, that, today, against Arizona State, who beat Hawai'i in three, we were playing an entirely different level of volleyball than what we played on the first night against Hawaii. I was really impressed with our team, overall.”

The Bobcats will host the Baymont Inn & Suites Invitational this weekend at the Convocation Center. Ohio will take on Texas A&M University on Friday at 7 p.m., then face Virginia Commonwealth University on Saturday at noon and Virginia Tech University at 7 p.m. that evening.