(Daniel Rader/WOUB)

Ohio Volleyball Pushed to Five Sets, Beats Ball State

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The Bobcats entered Friday night’s match versus Ball State with a 30-game regular season conference winning streak, and through the combined efforts of senior Shelby Walker and redshirt sophomore Ali Lake, Ohio (17-3, 7-0 MAC) pulled through in five sets. The Bobcats won 3-2 (25-19, 23-25, 25-22, 21-25, 18-16).

Trailing 14-13 in the fifth and decisive set, Walker tied it at 14 apiece, and then Lake, who had a match-high 18 kills, fended off two more match points to help secure the 18-16 set victory.

Lake said she had to hide her nerves but she was happy that she could produce for the team in the tough moments.

“Ali was great tonight,” head coach Deane Webb said. “We do not win if Ali was good tonight. We won because she was great.”

The Bobcats were coming off a game against Buffalo where they had 16 aces, nine by sophomore outside hitter Jaime Kosiorek, to just seven errors. However, that success did not translate to this match: The team had just six aces and 21 service errors.

“We were not really focused,” Webb said. “We were not really focused on our warmup tonight and it transferred to the game and because of that we were playing a lot of games behind even though we were hitting a high percentage but we missed so many serves that we felt tight. We’re glad to get the win. We said we wanted to get pushed more and we were pushed tonight.”

Senior setter Abby Gilleland came within one kill from a triple-double, as she had nine kills, 53 assists and 13 digs.

Webb talks about wanting a more balanced offense. The ‘Cats believe that having six players on the floor that can attempt a kill makes them harder to defend. In this match they had seven players that had 15 or more attempts. Kosiorek and Lake lead the way with 49 and 30 attempts, respectively.

“You look at our numbers from the beginning of the season and people like Jaime and Shelby [Walker] were taking an insane amount of swings,” Gilleland said. “The fact that we are developing some cohesion it’s about midway through the season, it’s pretty normal at this point to have a good amount of balance, but credit to our hitters as well they’re putting the ball away… that is what we aim for.”

Being pushed all the way to five sets is something that team was wanting. They felt like they were not pushed enough last year and being pushed this year will help later in the season and during the MAC tournament.