Updated Mon, Oct 28, 2013 10:57 am
Ohio counted on Katie Horton Friday. And the freshman responded.
Horton delivered 13 kills to lead all players at Northern Illinois Oct. 25, pacing a far-from-full-strength Ohio offense.
Injuries to Kellie Turner and Chelsea Bilger left the Bobcats (17-2, 7-4 MAC) with a depleted outside hitter rotation all season. Their depth at the position took a hit last weekend when reigning MAC Player of the Year Kelly Lamberti rolled her ankle in a five-set loss to Ball State.
Ohio had Lamberti’s services in limited capacity Friday. While the junior made a significant impact with 11 kills and 15 digs, Horton carried much of the load on the outside, taking a team-high 31 swings.
Ohio dropped a tight first game after Northern Illinois (12-11, 4-5) capitalized on the set’s timely points.
An Alexis Pinson service error turned a tie game into a 22-21 Husky lead. Northern Illinois won the next two points on kills to pull within a point of taking game 1.
But Ohio responded to the early deficit with a few timely runs of its own.
Setter Abby Gilleland led a 7-1 run in the second set with two kills and a service ace, putting Ohio up 16-11. Ohio led comfortably for the rest of the set.
In the third set it was again Gilleland leading Ohio’s charge. The sophomore had two kills and three assists over a span of six points, as Ohio used another 7-1 run to take an 11-6 lead. From there, the Bobcats held off NIU’s push for the rest of the set.
Seven Bobcats scored at least 6 points in Ohio’s four set victory.
Gilleland had 39 assists with seven kills and eight digs. Pinson and Liis Kullerkann each had 8 blocks (Pinson had one block solo), and Mallory Salis and Karin Bull added six kills apiece.
Ohio takes on Western Michigan (13-9, 6-3) Saturday in Kalamazoo, Mich.