Updated Sat, Nov 30, 2013 7:22 pm
Ohio Volleyball dominated early, but fell short agiant a desparate VCU team, 3-1 (25-13, 20-25, 25-27, 22-25), in its regular season finale Satuday, Nov. 30.
The loss snapped Ohio's 11-match win streak and brought their regular season record to 27-5.
The Bobcats came into the game having secured an NCAA Championship berth after winning the Mid-American Conference Tournament. VCU (26-8) lost a chance at an automatic bid with a 1-3 defeat in the Atlantic-10 Championship Game.
The Rams ranked 64th in RPI before the match and needed a win to solidify their fading NCAA Tournament chances.
Ohio jumped ahead early in the opening set, winning six straight points on outside hitter Kelly Lamberti’s serve to build an 11-3 lead. VCU won back service with a point, but the Bobcats grabbed the next four points, behind two kills from Katie Horton, to extend their lead to double digits.
Moments later another 4-0 run, highlighted by back-to-back Mallory Salis kills, put Ohio up 20-6 and forced the second Rams timeout of the game. Ohio held on to win the set 25-13 in the midst of a late VCU run.
Ohio hit .481 in the first set and hovered above .700 for the majority of the frame.
The momentum carried over for the Rams in the second game. Back-to-back Ohio attack errors aided VCU to a 13-10 lead and forced Ohio coach Ryan Theis to burn timeout.
A 5-1 run increased the Rams’ lead to 18-11 and forced Theis’ second timeout. A brief exchange of side outs brought the score to 21-13 before Ohio reeled off four straight points behind three VCU errors.
A timeout set the Rams straight as VCU won four of the last seven points to take the second set, snapping Ohio’s sets-won streak at 17.
Ohio only managed a .106 hitting percentage in the second frame. VCU had three blocks in the set.
The Bobcats grabbed the lead out of the locker room, 7-3, behind kills by Horton and Liis Kullerkann. But a 6-1 VCU run gave the Rams the lead at 10-9.
An extended side-out exchange brought the score to 18-16 before a VCU kill gave the Rams a 3-point lead and forced Theis to burn a timeout. After the stoppage, a bad set by Abby Gilleland put the Rams ahead 4.
Kullerkann responded with a kill, and a VCU miss brought the ‘Cats within 2, but a Kullerkann service error gave VCU a 21-18 advantage.
Four straight side-outs brought the VCU lead to 23-20 as Theis called his second timeout of the set. A VCU miss and a block by Pinson and Kullerkann then brought the Bobcats within a point, and Kullerkann killed the ensuing point to tie the game, 23-23, and force a VCU stoppage.
Five straight side-outs followed, putting VCU ahead 26-25. The Rams dialed up a service ace to win the set and take a 2-1 lead.
In the fourth, a 6-1 run gave VCU the early lead, 8-5. Ohio battled back to tie the game at 11, but a 9-1 run put VCU ahead, 20-12.
Ohio responded with a 5-1 run, capped by a Gilleland service ace, to bring the score to 22-18 and force a Rams timeout.
After the timeout, Ohio battled to a 23-21 deficit, but a key miss by service specialist Geneva Yee put VCU in position to win the match. Two points later, a kill by Romana Kriskova put the match away.
Kriskova had 16 kills to lead all players.
VCU overcame early struggles to kill 48 balls over the last three sets on a .333 clip.
Horton led Ohio on both offense and defense with 13 kills on .440 clip and four blocks (two solo). Kullerkann and Karin Bull also recorded double-digit kills.
Ohio will find out its NCAA Championship first round matchup Sunday night at 9:30 p.m.