Ohio Volleyball Drops Semifinal Match In Five

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Ohio Volleyball lost its first match in 65 days Sunday, falling to the No. 5 seed Western Michigan University 3-2 (25-22, 25-19, 23-25, 23-25, 14-16) in the semifinal match of the Mid-American Conference Tournament.

“It was a tough night for us,” Ohio coach Deane Webb said. “We didn’t quite play the way we usually are and we didn’t get everyone going the way we normally do.”

Top-seeded Ohio actually did start the match the way it had been all season. The Bobcats took the first two sets while maintaining a pretty fluid offense. The momentum started to change in set three though, as the Broncos found some momentum behind freshman Sydney LeMay, who recorded 17 kills in the match. That momentum carried all the way through the end of the match, becoming the Bobcats’ biggest downfall.

“I think when you are up and rolling that switch can cause a mental break,” two-time MAC Player of the Year Abby Gilleland said. “And sometimes you respond well to that and sometimes you don’t.”

While the Bobcats struggled in sets four and five, senior Kelly Lamberti kept her team together with her tenacious and effective play. The outside hitter had an all-around impressive night, posting 21 kills, four blocks and 21 digs. Though her play was huge for Ohio, it was still not enough for the ‘Cats in the end.

“The challenge when not everyone is playing at the level they normally do is we have to rely on Kelly too much,” Webb said. “It was just incredibly imbalanced.”

After being pushed to set five, the Bobcats surged to a 12-7 lead and looked as though they were on their way to victory. The Broncos did not go down though, fighting back with a 5-2 run to tie the set at 14. Their momentum continued as a Bronco kill and block gave Western Michigan the win and snapping Ohio’s 17-game win streak.

Western Michigan only hit .160 but still had a big night at the net. Hitters LeMay, Alysia Baznik and Ali Gossen combined for 41 of the team’s total 61 total kills.

Ohio had four players in double-digit kills in Lamberti with 21, Jaime Kosiorek with 19, Hannah Burkle with 12 and Gilleland with 11. The Bobcats had the Broncos beat on the stat sheet, but Ohio’s 13 service errors and inability to put away set points ultimately plagued them.

Ohio’s season is not over as they travel to Dayton Friday Nov. 28 to challenge the Flyers.