Updated Fri, Sep 20, 2013 3:24 pm
Ohio Volleyball kept its stellar season on track Friday with a win over Maryland in its first of three matches at the Michigan Invitational in Ann Arbor, Mich., 26-24, 25-21, 25-23. The win puts Ohio at 9-1 for the first time since the 2002 season.
Maryland (8-2) gave Ohio all it could handle in the first set. The Bobcats grabbed a 3-0 lead on graduate middle blocker Alexis Pinson’s serve, but that was the largest lead either team held at any point in the opening game.
Maryland took control of the game on a 4-0 run, transforming the score from 6-8 to 10-8, but the advantage was short-lived, as Ohio regained the lead at 14-12 on a 4-0 run of its own.
With the Terps up 21-20, Ohio coach Ryan Theis called his first timeout of the set. Out of the break, neither team could find any traction in its service, as the two squads traded points over six rallies. Theis again called timeout facing set point after a block error by freshman outside hitter Katie Horton gave Maryland a 24-23 lead.
Horton responded out of the second timeout with a kill to tie the game at 24, and an attack error by Maryland’s Emily Fraik gave the Bobcats a 25-24 lead and forced the Terps to call time. Horton ended the set on the next point with another kill.
Senior outside hitter Liis Kullerkann led the way with five kills in the opening set, while Horton added four kills and one block.
The second set played closely early on, until Ohio snagged the lead at 6-5 and never gave it up. While the lead never seemed out of reach for Maryland, the Bobcats held their advantage through the better half of the set before breaking the game open with a 7-3 run to give them a 24-17 lead. Maryland put a small rally together on four consecutive points, forcing a cautionary timeout from Theis, but junior hitter Kelly Lamberti vanquished the threat with a kill on the ensuing point.
Ohio handled the third set much the same way, though Maryland held control in the first half of the game. Down, 15-11, Liis Kullerkann came up with a kill for a crucial side out, and Maryland’s Mary Crushman followed with three consecutive attack errors to tie the game at 15. From there, Ohio won nine of the next 13 points to go up, 24-19. Again, the Terps gave a final effort to claw back, this time bringing the deficit down to 1, but Pinson sealed the deal with a block solo.
Kullerkann ended with nine kills on a .400 clip, while Lamberti matched her nine kills and added eight digs. Horton and sophomore middle blocker Karin Bull had seven kills apiece.
Ohio will try to keep its current five-match win streak going against Marshall at 5:30 p.m.