Ohio Volleyball Wins First Match of Nike Invitational

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The Ohio Bobcats (3-5) defeated the Lamar Cardinals (0-7) in straight sets (25-16, 25-21, 25-21) in their first match of the Nike Invitational.

Ohio dominated the first set, hitting a remarkable .480 and only had two errors. Ohio scored seven of the games first 10 points, forcing Lamar to call a timeout. The Bobcats and Cardinals traded points until a Katie Nelson kill made it 11-7 in favor of Ohio. After that, Ohio went on a 14-9 run to take the first set. During that run, Sara Januszewski had two of her match high four aces and Mallory Salis had three of her set high six kills.

“It is a really rare and amazing thing when you have a freshman middle who can serve and play at least some level of defense,” head coach Dean Webb said on Januszewski. “Most middles, especially young ones, you got to sub them out… She has a chance to be really good.”

The Cardinals flew out to an 8-4 lead in the second set but a 4-1 Ohio run made it a 9-8 deficit. Two kills by Jaime Kosiorek and two Cardinal errors gave Ohio the 12-11 lead and forced Lamar to call a timeout. The timeout did not do much because the Cardinals only tied the match one time after it and Ohio led the rest of the way. Ohio continued great hitting with 13 kills to just five errors. Lamar failed to hit over .100 for the second straight set.

Two straight Januszewski aces gave Ohio a 6-4 lead in the third set, a lead they would not relinquish. Four more Salis kills and three by Nelson put the game out of reach. Lamar was able to fend off four straight match points but an Ali Lake kill ended the hope of a comeback.

“It was a good win,” Webb said. “Kind of an interesting game we absolutely dominated the first set and then we probably coasted a little bit we passed well and served well.”

Salis led all players with 12 kills. Nelson chipped in eight kills and two blocks, and Kosiorek added eight kills as well. Brooke Coleman led all players with 13 digs. Chelsea Grant paced the Cardinals with 10 kills.

Up next for Ohio is the battle of OU schools. At 8 p.m. Friday, the Bobcats take on the Oklahoma Sooners (7-1).