Volleyball: MAC Preview

By
Carly Graman

Dateline
Updated Fri, Sep 21, 2012 9:06 am
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After a difficult preseason, Ohio Volleyball and Head Coach Ryan Theis are finally preparing to enter Mid-American Conference play.

The Bobcats went 5-7 in a preseason that included six games against teams that received votes in the latest AVCA poll. But Coach Theis is optimistic about getting back to familiar ground in the MAC.

“I think we got better during the preseason and went toe-to-toe and competed with some pretty good teams,” said Theis. “Overall I like this team and the level we play at. Hopefully we can finish more games which will translate to more wins.”

Coach Theis’ team is focusing on being aggressive and limiting errors to give it a competitive edge over other teams in the conference. Sophomore Kelly Lamberti will be a key part of this strategy for the Bobcats in the coming weeks. Lamberti is currently ranked fourth in the MAC in kills per set (3.83) and second in service aces (17).

Freshman Meredith Ashy has been a key defensive player for the Bobcats, immediately stepping into her role as the libero. Ashy currently ranks second in the MAC East Division with 187 digs.

During the Bobcats’ preseason trip to North Carolina, sophomore Serna Warner led the team offensively and emerged as a major weapon for the Bobcats.

“Serena puts a lot of stress on defenses with her speed and we hope she continues that success for nine, ten, more weeks,” Coach Theis stated.

The sophomore middle blocker is currently ranked second in the MAC in hitting percentage (.367) and blocks (55).

Despite a few tough losses, the Bobcats showed a lot of potential in preseason play. They have the second best record in their division entering conference play, and Theis has repeatedly shown that he can win when it counts. The Bobcats have won the MAC East Division in each of Theis’ four seasons in Athens.

Ohio Volleyball will begin MAC conference play this Friday against Bowling Green and Miami of Ohio on Sunday.

 

At A Glance: The Mid-American Conference

 

East Division

 

Akron Zips (8-5, 1-0 MAC):

Head Coach: Ron Arenz (Fifth Season)

Last Season: 4-25 (1-15 MAC)

Key Returning Players: Alex Cocklin Junior Outside Hitter, Tina Dimitrijevs, Senior, Middle Blocker

Player on the Rise: Chelsea Harvey, Senior, Outside Hitter

Regular Season MAC Titles: 1999 (MAC East Champions), 2002 (East)

MAC Tournament Titles: None

 

Bowling Green Falcons (4-7)

Head Coach: Danijela Tomic (Second Season)

Last Season: 19-12 (6-10 MAC)

Key Returning Players: Laura Avila, Junior, Setter; Danielle Tonyan, Senior, Outside Hitter

Player on the Rise: Leah Shaw, Senior, Middle Blocker

Regular Season MAC Titles: 1989, 1991, 1992, 2000 (East), 2001 (East)

MAC Tournament Titles: 1991

 

Buffalo Bulls (6-7, 0-1 MAC)

Head Coach: Todd Kress (Fourth Season)

Last Season: 11-9 (4-12 MAC)

Key Returning Players: Liz Scott, Sophomore, Outside Hitter; Dana Musil, Junior, Outside Hitter

Player on the Rise: Megan Lipski, Freshman, Outside Hitter

Regular Season MAC Titles: None

MAC Tournament Titles: None

 

Kent State Golden Flashes (3-9)

Head Coach: Don Gromala (First Season)

Last Season: 12-19 (5-11)

Key Returning Players: Aleksandra Nowak, Junior, Setter; Tinuke Aderemi-Ibitola, Sophomore, Outside Hitter

Player on the Rise: Kelly Hutchison, Freshman, Outside Hitter

Regular Season MAC Titles: None

MAC Tournament Titles: None

 

Miami (Ohio) Redhawks (5-8)

Head Coach: Carolyn Condit (29th Season)

Last Season: 16-16 (7-9 MAC)

Key Returning Players: Meg Riley, Sophomore, Setter/Outside Hitter; Madison Hardy, Junior, Libero

Player on the Rise: Jenny Ingle, Freshman (Redshirt), Middle Blocker

Regular Season MAC Titles: 1980, 1981, 1990, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998

MAC Tournament Titles: 1990, 1996, 1998, 2007

 

Ohio Bobcats (5-7)

Head Coach: Ryan Theis (Fifth Season)

Last Season: 25-12 (13-3 MAC)

Key Returning Players: Kelly Lamberti, Sophomore, Outside Hitter; Lexie Hartnett, Junior (Redshirt), Middle Blocker

Player on the Rise: Meredith Ashy, Freshman, Libero

Regular Season MAC Titles: 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008 (East), 2009, 2010 (East), 2011 (East)

MAC Tournament Titles: 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2008, 2009, 2010

 

West Division

 

Ball State Cardinals (8-6, 1-0 MAC)

Head Coach: Steve Shondell (Third Season)

Last Season: 25-8 (12-4 MAC)

Key Returning Players: Kara Bates, Senior, Outside Hitter; Catie Fredrich, Junior, Libero

Player on the Rise: Mindy Marx, Junior, Middle Blocker

Regular Season MAC Titles: 1993, 1994, 1996, 1998, 1999, 2002, 2004 (West), 2010

MAC Tournament Titles: 1992, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1999, 2002,

 

Central Michigan Chippewas (6-5)

Head Coach: Erik Olson (Ninth Season)

Last Season: 18-13 (8-8 MAC)

Key Returning Players: Kaitlyn McIntyre, Sophomore, Outside Hitter; Kelly Maxwell, Junior, Setter

Player on the Rise: Angie White, Freshman, Middle Blocker

Regular Season MAC Titles: 2003 (West)

MAC Tournament Titles: 2011

 

Eastern Michigan Eagles (10-6)

Head Coach: Kim Berrington (17th Season)

Last Season: 21-11 (9-7 MAC)

Key Returning Players: Rachel Iaquaniello, Senior, Outside Hitter; Megan Crawshaw, Sophomore, Middle Blocker

Player on the Rise: Sierra Reed, Freshman, Libero

Regular Season MAC Titles: 2005 (West)

MAC Tournament Titles: None

 

Northern Illinois Huskies (9-7)

Head Coach: Ray Gooden (11th Season)

Last Season: 28-7 (14-2 MAC)

Key Returning Players: Mary Kurisch, Senior, Outside Hitter/Middle Blocker; Sarah Angelos, Junior, Middle Blocker

Player on the Rise: Alexis Gonzalez, Freshman, Setter

Regular Season MAC Titles: 1997, 1998, 2001, 2006 (West), 2011

MAC Tournament Titles: 1997

 

Toledo Rockets (6-7, 0-1 MAC)

Head Coach: Greg Smith (Third Season)

Last Season: 10-8 (5-1 MAC)

Key Returning Players: Lauren Rafdal, Junior, Outside Hitter; Becca Reidy, Junior, Opposite Hitter

Player on the Rise: Brooke Frazer, Sophomore, Middle Blocker

Regular Season MAC Titles: None

MAC Tournament Titles: None

 

Western Michigan Broncos (7-6)

Head Coach: Colleen Munson (Eighth Season)

Last Season: 24-9 (12-4 MAC)

Key Returning Players: Jessica Brown, Senior, Outside Hitter; Lena Oliver, Junior, Libero

Player on the Rise: Terin Norris, Sophomore, Setter

Regular Season MAC Titles: 1983, 1984, 1985, 1986, 1987, 1988, 2000, 2007 (East), 2008, 2009 (East)

MAC Tournament Titles: 1987, 1988, 1989, 2000

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