[Max Mingay | WOUB]

Big night from Caitlin O’Farrell leads to comfortable 3-0 sweep of Bradley

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ATHENS, Ohio (WOUB) – It only took three sets for the Ohio women’s volleyball team to win at home in the Convocation Center for the first time this season. 

Ohio played host to the Bradley Braves Friday night as part of the Bobcat Invitational Tournament. The four team tournament consisting of Ohio, Bradley, Loyola Maryland, and Tennessee Tech takes place over both Friday and Saturday. 

In a convincing manner, Ohio handled their start to the weekend extremely well, sweeping the Braves (25-21, 25-21, 25-17).

Head Coach Geoff Carlston realized in order to beat an opponent like Bradley, it was adamant to run the middle early. Throughout the first set Anna Kharchynska and Caitlin O’Farrell were rampant in the middle as Ohio tallied 17 kills in the first set alone.

An Ohio volleyball player spikes one over the net
An Ohio volleyball player spikes one over the net [Alex Michalec | WOUB]
Although the offense was setting the tempo for the game, the Bobcats defense was a question, letting six blocks go early. Covering the tip and covering Bradleys cross-court shots was also an issue. Seemingly every tip Bradley played over the net, Libero Sam Steele and the rest of the Bobcats back row defense had a hard time responding too.

In the end, however, Ohio went back to setting O’Farrell and she took over as Ohio won 25-21.

Similarly to the first set, the second set was neck and neck until about the halfway mark. 

At this point in the game it seemed Bradley could tie it up and automatically force a fourth set. The Braves were consistently running middle slides and catching the Ohio defense off guard. 

It was not until the latter half of the set when Ohio’s attacking options started to seemingly put every ball into the hardwood. 

An 8-1 run for Ohio in which Anna Kharchynska scored three kills proved insurmountable for Bradley. Yet again, the Bobcats came out victorious and yet again won the set 25-21.

The third set was all O’Farrell all the time. The 6’4 senior out of Suwanee, Georgia had a statement game, totaling 15 kills on the night, a game high. O’Farrell practically scored at will, painting the corners and finding the seams in the Bradley Braves defense. 

“When she plays like that she’s unstoppable,” Carlston said. “I’m really proud of her, she’s come a long way.”

Senior outside hitter Olivia Margolies also reinforced the skill and attitude O’Farrell brings to this Bobcats squad.

Ohio volleyball's defense stands tall as Tria Mclean (3) bumps the ball
Ohio volleyball’s defense stands tall as Tria Mclean (3) bumps the ball [Alex Michalec | WOUB]
“She’s a beast,” Margolies said. “She’s one of our more consistent players and I think every game she comes in and absolutely kills it.”

The anchor of the Bobcats team tonight, O’Farrell stepped up when Ohio needed it most.

Anna Kharchynska, Margolies, and O’Farrell’s variety of hits made the Braves defense weaken and led the Bobcats to a comfortable 25-17 lead in the third set. 

The Bobcats completely overwhelmed Bradley and gave Ohio their first win in the home invitational.

Ohio takes on Loyola Maryland at 12:30 p.m. and Tennessee Tech at 7:00 p.m. Saturday. An O’Farrell dominant performance and fixing errors on the defensive side of the court had the Bobcats grinning and celebrating, but not settling for just a single win.

“It’s a big weekend,” Carlston said. “They want to win this tournament. It’s fun to be here though.”