Volleyball: Ohio Drops Home Opener To Texas A&M

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The Ohio Bobcats volleyball team was unable to secure a win in front of their home fans as it dropped to the Texas A&M Aggies, 3-0 (25-23, 25-20, 26-24), in their opening game of the Baymont Inn & Suites Invitational at the Convocation Center.

The Bobcats came out strong in the opening set, keeping pace with the Aggies’ balanced offense and tough players at the net. Texas A&M gained an early 7-6 lead that the Bobcats were never able to regain despite the valiant effort by junior transfer Shelby Walker. She paced the ‘Cats with five first-set kills.

Walker led the Bobcats at the net all match, recording 10 kills on the night.

“I was just trying to win,” Walker said. “We talked about protecting home court and I think that was our main focus for tonight.”

While the Bobcats were unable to tack another “W” to their record, they had the skills to take the victory, matching the Aggies in terms of total number of kills, blocks and digs throughout the second and the third sets. The final two sets changed momentum constantly with seven and eight ties, respectively.

“I think each set we certainly started off well. We just had a hard time closing,” Ohio coach Deane Webb said. “And that’s a mental issue.”

Ohio led the entire third set up until an Aggie block gave Texas A&M a 22-21 lead. The Bobcats battled back, though, tying the set at 24, but back-to-back kills for the Aggies sealed Ohio’s first home loss of the season.

“I feel like we started out strong, but we couldn’t hold onto our leads,” Walker said. “It’s just a lack of discipline and lack of focus I guess.”

Setter Abby Gilleland appeared focused and determined in the match, coming in one kill short of a triple-double with nine kills, 10 digs and 29 assists.

“She’s a dynamic player. It’s important we pass well enough for her to be able to score, but also to get our hitters one-on-one,” Webb said.

Gilleland’s quick swing and ability to see the court caused the Aggie defense to stay on their toes while the junior setter distributed the ball to the outside hitters Jaime Kosiorek and Kelly Lamberti who had seven and 10 kills, respectively.

“We don’t want to have five hitters, we want six hitters,” Webb said.

The Bobcats will look to bounce back Saturday when they take on VCU at noon in the Convo. VCU handed the Bobcats their last regular season loss in 2013.

“I think our team should be pretty motivated to play VCU. That’s a little opportunity to get one back for those that were here last year and on the court,” Webb said.

The Bobcats will end this weekend’s play in the Convo Saturday evening at 7 p.m. in their final tournament match against Virginia Tech.