Ohio Defense Picks Up in Win Over WMU in Straight Sets

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The Ohio Bobcats (11-11, 7-3) defeated the Western Michigan Broncos (8-15, 3-7) on Saturday in straight sets (25-9, 25-23, 25-23).

The Bobcats put forth what was possibly their best defensive effort of the season in the victory. Ohio had 13 blocks and held the Broncos to a .034 hitting percentage, including a negative hitting percentage in the first set. Coming into the match Sydney LeMay was top five in the Mid-American Conference in kill per set, at over three. Ohio held her to five kills and a -.043 hitting percentage.

“Brooke was really good tonight. I think our whole team defensively, for the most part, we were good,” head coach Deane Webb said.

A Mallory Salis kill tied the first set at three. Brooke Coleman rattled off five straight service points to take an 8-3 lead. During the run, Coleman had an ace and Salis had two kills. A Quiana Ware kill ended the run, but Ohio never looked back. The Bobcats went on a 17-4 run to close out the set. Salis had seven kills in the set.

The second and third sets looked like a totally different game. They were close throughout and featured several ties and lead changes.

An error by Mary Murphy gave Ohio a 21-16 lead in the second. However, Western Michigan scored seven of nine points, thanks in part to three kills by Alysia Baznk, and tied the set at 23. A kill by Katie Nelson and an error by WMU gave Ohio a 2-0 lead.

In the third, a kill by Jaime Kosiorek tied the set at 16. A 4-1 run gave WMU a 20-17 lead. Two straight kills by Ali Lake cut it to a one-point game. Two consecutive Bronco points make it a 22-19 game. Simone Miller’s kill and two errors tied it at 22. The two teams traded the next two points and once again it was tied at 23. A kill by Salis and an error by WMU gave Ohio its seventh conference win of the year.

Salis’ streak of five straight games with 22 or more kills came to an end, as she had “only” 16. Kosiorek added 10. Erica Walker had 20 digs, Salis had 13 and Coleman added 12. The MAC leader in assists per game, Murphy, was held to just 21 assists. No Western Michigan hitter had over six kills.

“The joke with Mal was sorry you only got 16, you’re off the team, but it’s good,” Webb said. “We won one in three, and she still had over 5 kills per set.”

Ohio is back in action next weekend when they travel to Akron and Buffalo. Both matches begin at 7 p.m.