Ohio Sweeps Road Slate, Moves To 14-0 In MAC Play

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Ohio volleyball won its final road conference game Saturday with a 3-0 (25-19, 25-15, 25-21) sweep of Buffalo (14-14, 4-10) at Alumni Arena.

It was a career night for senior middle blocker/outside hitter Hannah Burkle who posted a career-high 12 kills led the match with four assisted blocks.

The ‘Cats (21-4, 14-0 MAC) overcame an 8-7 deficit in the opening set with a 12-5 run that featured three kills by Burkle and two apiece by outside hitters Kelly Lamberti and Jaime Kosiorek. Buffalo responded with three consecutive points of their own, but a 5-0 run by Ohio gave the ‘Cats set point 24-16. The Bulls closed the gap to five with another straight three points, but a kill by Burkle sealed the opening set for the Bobcats.

Ohio and Buffalo traded points in the second set until Ohio extended their 11-10 lead by scoring nine of the set’s next 10 points. Ohio closed the set out with a 5-3 run, using kills by Lamberti, Bull, Kosiorek and middle blocker Shelby Walker to take a 2-0 lead.

Buffalo kept it close in set three. Ohio led by 1 before an 8-3 run by the ‘Cats extended the lead. Buffalo closed the gap to 2 four times at 16-14, 17-15, 19-17 and 20-18, but Ohio scored three of the next four to increase their lead to 23-19. The Bulls cut the Bobcats’ lead to 3 at 23-20 with a double block, but kills by Walker and Burkle gave Ohio its 15th straight win.

After a 3-1 (25-18, 21-25, 25-12, 25-14) win over Akron on Friday, Ohio volleyball is two matches away from ending Mid-American Conference play undefeated for the first time since 2006.

Friday’s win did not come easy, as the Bobcats dropped set two to the Zips (8-21, 2-12).

“We hit .230, which normally isn’t a bad number,” Ohio coach Deane Webb said of set two. “We just didn’t defend very well in that set. I would just say tonight, Akron played so hard. They played really hard in the second set and had this ‘refuse to lose’ mentality.”

Ohio responded in the third set, posting an impressive .516 side-out percentage while holding Akron to .071 in the 13-point victory.

Set four unraveled much like set three. The ‘Cats jumped out to an early 14-9 lead and maintained it all the through the set. Senior outside hitter Kelly Lamberti recorded four kills and two service aces in the final set.

The Green and White outscored the Zips by 24 following their only set loss.

“It’s just that everyone lifted their play,” Webb said. We knew that we didn’t play well in the second. They knew that Akron was playing way better than the last time we played them, so we just had to raise our level of play and give credit to our team because they did that.”

Lamberti led the way for Ohio as she posted 19 kills along with a team-high three service aces. Freshman outside hitter Jaime Kosiorek added 12 kills in the effort, marking the 12th time the rookie has recorded double-digit kills in 2014.

Junior middle blocker Karin Bull hit a match-high .583 clip with seven kills and no errors on 12 attempts. On the defensive end, junior libero Meredith Ashy led the match with 17 digs while Bull posted a team-high 2.0 blocks.

“It may not be a crisp start, but the last two sets we played at a high level, hit at a high percentage, defended pretty well, and that’s what we need to take away: Leaving here, playing good volleyball,” Webb said.