Ohio Outlasts Miami, Clinches MAC-East

Avery T. Jennings
Colin Brown

Updated Mon, Nov 11, 2013 12:41 pm

Another day, another five-setter.

Ohio Volleyball shook off a narrow first-set loss and a fourth-set push from Miami (OH) to win in five for the second time of the weekend Saturday, Nov. 9, 25-27, 25-17, 26-24, 17-25, 15-12.

The Bobcats (22-4, 12-2 MAC) rallied from a 2-1 deficit at Bowling Green the night before.

“Tonight was another gutsy performance by this group,” Ohio coach Ryan Theis said. “I though Miami played so hard and has been playing really well in their last two matches. It was a tough road match against a rival on their senior night and we played well.”

Ohio needed to rally again Saturday, falling behind 4-8 in the final set.

A timely Katie Horton kill gave the Bobcats side out, and Ohio proceeded to win the next three points on the serve of freshman Mallory Salis. Salis dropped in an ace to bring the ‘Cats within 1, and junior Kelly Lamberti killed the next point to tie the game at 8-8.

The RedHawks (11-15, 3-11) took back the lead on a kill by Annie Reiswig, but Alexis Pinson answered for Ohio to tie the game at 9-9.

A Reiswig kill and a bad serve later, the game was tied at 10-10.

Freshman Brooke Coleman erred on service to give the lead back to Miami, but Ohio’s Karin Bull and Lamberti strung together a couple kills to take back the advantage, 12-11, and force a Miami timeout.

The RedHawks saw the match slip through their fingers after the stoppage when a bad set and a block by Bull and Horton pushed the Bobcat lead to 14-11. Two points later, Horton finished the match with her 17th kill.

Horton’s 17 kills led all players and set a new career high, breaking her mark of 15 from Friday’s marathon win over the Falcons. She added six block assists.

“I really like the way Katie Horton and Karin Bull are stepping up,” Theis said.

Bull had 14 kills and seven block assists Saturday after a 14-kill, six-block performance the night before.

Pinson chipped in 14 kills and six blocks, and Abby Gilleland set a new career high, assisting on 60 of Ohio’s 69 kills. Gilleland added five kills and 16 digs.

With the win, Ohio clinches an 11th straight MAC-East title. The ‘Cats have now won six straight matches (three in five sets) since falling to Ball State on Oct. 19.

Ohio fell behind after extra volleyball in the first set. After Miami took a 24-22 lead, Theis called a timeout. Pinson killed the ensuing point to draw Ohio within a point, and Theis called on Geneva Yee to serve. The freshman delivered an ace to tie the game at 24-24, but Miami won the next point to go back up 1.

The RedHawks gave the point back on a service error and called timeout to regroup. They won the next two points on a block and a kill to grab a 1-0 lead.

Ohio led for most of the second set and won six of the last seven points to tie the match at a game apiece.

After intermission, the two teams played a tight third set. Ohio fell behind in game three, 7-3, prompting Theis to call his first timeout of the set. The Bobcats won five of the next six points after the stoppage to tie the game at 8-8.

Again, Ohio found itself in a hole late in the set. A kill by Miami’s Paige Hill put the RedHawks ahead 24-23, a point away from a 2-1 lead. But Theis called timeout and the Bobcats responded again, winning the next three points to take the 2-1 advantage.

Miami outscored Ohio 13-7 over the last 20 points of the fourth set to force game five.

But Ohio staved off the momentum swing for their MAC-leading 12th conference win. The Bobcats hold a one-game lead over the MAC-West leader Toledo (10-3 MAC) for first place in the league standings. Ball State (10-4 MAC) lost to Akron Saturday to drop a game back.

Ohio will host Kent State and Central Michigan to round out the season next weekend. The Golden Flashes handed Ohio its first MAC loss on Oct. 10 in Kent.

Photo Credit: 
Kate Hiller