Sophomore Katie Nelson serves the ball to Western Michigan on October 22, 2106. (Robert McGraw/WOUB)

Ohio Volleyball Falls to .500 MAC Record

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After winning the first set with ease, the Ohio University women’s volleyball team fell to an even 5-5 record in conference play as they dropped three consecutive sets in a loss to Western Michigan Saturday night.

Although Ohio topped Western Michigan 25-14 in the opening set, the Broncos would bounce back and outscore the Bobcats 75-52 to win their second consecutive match and improve to a 7-3 record in MAC play.

Sophomore outside hitter Lizzie Stephens had yet another impressive performance as she was responsible for all three of the Bobcats aces, enough to lead the match. Stephens also recorded six kills, a solo block and eight digs in the loss.

Despite the stellar performance from Stephens, the Bobcats two-game winning streak was snapped at the hands of the Broncos. The victory, in large part, was a result of the play from Western Michigan freshman, Rachel Bontrager. Along with two solo blocks and seven digs, Bontrager, an outside hitter, led the match with 20 kills (2 of which were service aces) on a .255 hitting percentage.

The Bobcat defense was as stout as can be in the opening set as they held Western Michigan to just 14 points with a -.107 hitting percentage. Freshman middle blocker and reigning MAC East Offensive Player of the Week Tia Jimerson led the Ohio offense as she finished the first set with a .750 hitting percentage and six kills as the Bobcats went on to win the set by 11 points.

After being held to a -.070 hitting percentage and being outscored 25-16 in the second set, the Bobcats looked to retake the lead in the third set. With a 13-10 lead midway through the third set, the Broncos were forced to call a timeout. This proved to be the difference maker as Western Michigan went on to outscore the Bobcats 15-4 to win their second consecutive set.

Despite taking an early 5-1 lead in the fourth set, the Bobcats allowed 14 of the next 23 points to give the Broncos a 15-14 lead. Although Stephens was able to tie it up with a kill, Western Michigan would go on to outscore the Bobcats 10-4 to win the match.

The Bobcats will return from their two-game road trip on Oct. 27 to face divisional rival Akron on Friday followed by Buffalo on Saturday, Oct. 28 at the Convocation Center.