Courtesy of Home MAC Athletic Communication Departments
Ohio 3, Miami 1
Bowling Green 3, Kent State 1
Northern Illinois 3, Eastern Michigan 1
Western Michigan 3, Central Michigan 1
ATHENS, Ohio – The No. 20 Ohio University volleyball team (13-2, 3-0 MAC) used a superior blocking effort to knock off rival Miami (8-7, 0-3 MAC) by a score of 3-1 (25-18, 21-25, 25-18, 25-15) Friday evening inside the Convocation Center.
The Bobcats held a 15-7 edge over the RedHawks in total blocks, including an impressive 8-2 edge in the fourth and deciding set.
Ohio – the No. 20 hitting team in the nation - hit at a .252 clip for the night while limiting Miami to .099 from the floor. It marked the second time in the last three matches that Ohio held its opponent under .100 hitting. The ‘Cats also held advantages in kills (56-40), assists (51-37) and digs (69-62) for the match.
Junior outside hitter Kelly Lamberti (Cary, Ill.) knocked down 19 kills and added 16 digs to post her team-leading seventh double-double of the season, while freshman outside hitter Katie Horton (Westland, Mich.) added 12 kills, four total blocks and hit a match-high .478 in the contest.
Sophomore setter Abby Gilleland (Bull Valley, Ill.) recorded a match-high 44 assists and chipped in nine digs, while sophomore libero Meredith Ashy (Louisville, Ky.) came up with a team-high 19 digs for Ohio.
Graduate middle blocker Alexis Pinson (Phoenix, Ariz.) posted a match-high nine total blocks and tallied six kills to pace Ohio defensively at the net.
The ‘Cats took an early 8-5 lead in the opening set and held a 9-8 advantage in the frame. From there, the Green & White rattled off five-straight points, highlighted by kills from Lamberti and redshirt junior Liis Kullerkann (Keila, Estonia), to build a 15-8 advantage. The ‘Cats stayed in front by seven at 22-15 and won the frame, 25-18, after Lamberti hammered home a kill on set point. The Cary, Ill., native notched nine of her 19 kills in the opening frame.
After Miami took set two, 25-21, Ohio raced out to a 7-2 lead in set three. Miami cut the lead to three at 12-9, but the ‘Cats answered back with two-straight to build the cushion back to five (14-9). After a service ace by freshman Mallory Salis (Oak Lawn, Ill.) made it 20-14, Ohio held on to win the third set in strong fashion (25-18).
In addition to the ace, Salis also posted 10 digs and added two kills in the match.
The two teams played to an 8-8 tie in set four before the ‘Cats posted three-straight to go up, 11-8. With Ohio leading 16-13, the Green & White used another mini run of 3-0 to build six-point cushion at 19-13. From there, Ohio outscored Miami, 6-2, over the final eight points of the set to take it, 25-15, and win the match.
With the victory, the ‘Cats have now won eight-straight matches against their rivals from Oxford, dating back to the 2010 season. The crowd of 1,437 marked Ohio’s second-largest in the Convo this season.
The Bobcats return to action Saturday night at 7 p.m. against MAC East foe Bowling Green (6-8, 3-0 MAC) inside the Convocation Center. It will mark Ohio’s annual “Dig Pink” match.
KENT, Ohio – Kent State was one point away from taking a 2-0 lead over Bowling Green Friday night in front of a raucous crowd at the M.A.C. Center. Instead, the Golden Flashes (7-9, 1-2) saw the defending Mid-American Conference champion reel off three straight games, ending a three-match home winning streak.
Each set was highly-competitive as the Flashes lost 3-1 (28-26, 24-26, 22-25, 19-25). The match featured 31 ties and 13 lead changes as the East Division rivals went at each other for the majority of the evening.
"We came out firing and did an excellent job of executing the game plan," said head coach Don Gromala. "Offensively, we were making good decisions of when to be aggressive and swing away. On the defensive end, we were scrambling and making some plays to force them make the errors."
Freshman outside hitter Bianca Cifaldi was extremely aggressive in her return to the starting lineup with four early kills to put the Flashes ahead 6-5. The final swing was the first of a 5-0 run that gave Kent State a 10-5 lead that seemed to stun its opponent.
The Falcons responded with a 15-6 run and looked to be in position to steal the opening set. Kent State regained the lead and had two opportunities to close the door, but was unable to do so and found the tables turned and faced a 26-25 deficit. With the encouragement of the home crowd, the Flashes got three consecutive kills to take the set and early momentum.
"We play our best with our backs to the wall," Gromala said of his quad. "We just have to try not to get down that much to get us going later on in matches."
A kill by junior middle blocker Liz Reikow gave the Flashes a 24-21 lead in the second set and the Flashes' fans were on the edge of their seats ready to erupt. But just when it appeared as if Kent State was in the driver's seat, Bowling Green scored five consecutive points to even the match at one set apiece.
The Flashes played from behind in each of the final two sets. They were in position to regain the lead when they tied the third set at 22-all. Unfortunately, they were unable to score again and fell behind. After trailing 11-3 to open the fourth set, the Flashes managed to get within three points at 20-17. That was as close as it got, however.
Reikow came up big on both sides of the net, leading the Flashes with 13 kills and five total kills. Five different players got in on the block party, as Kent State posted 12 in the loss. Senior libero Hannah Herc anchored the back line of defense with 26 digs.
"We really talked about our defensive energy. So once we got some blocks, our game really picked up. That really drove our energy for tonight."
Senior setter Aleksandra Nowak recorded a match-high 45 assists as she orchestrated the Kent State offense. The crafty senior did a terrific job of exploiting holes in the defense with four kills and a .500 attack percentage. Cifaldi continued her terrific freshman campaign with 12 kills, reaching double-figures for the 12th consecutive match.
Kent State concludes Homecoming weekend at the M.A.C. Center against Miami on Saturday. The match is scheduled for 7 p.m.
"It's going to be a very different team tomorrow," said Gromala. "Their go-to players are a little different position than what we saw tonight."
DeKALB, Ill. – Playing on their home court for the first time in the conference season, the Northern Illinois volleyball team got back in the win column Friday night in Victor E. Court with a 3-1 victory over the Eastern Michigan Eagles.
The win pushes the Huskies to 10-7 overall and 2-1 in the Mid-American Conference, while EMU drops to 11-7 and 1-2 in conference. NIU’s victory was also the first in DeKalb against the Eagles since 2010.
“Great team win tonight,” said NIU Head Coach Ray Gooden. “We’ve always had tough battles with Eastern (Michigan) and we knew that it would be a tough match going in. We didn’t have as much control as we wanted to have in the first set. They did a good job winning the first set, but we were able to rebound and play more consistent volleyball the rest of the match.”
Things didn’t get started smoothly for the Huskies, as the Eagles used a 4-0 run early to move ahead 6-2 on NIU. The Huskies battled back and got to within 7-6 when Emily Paschke scored on a kill. Yet, a 3-1 counter by EMU gave them another three-point lead at 10-7, only to have NIU go on a second 3-1 rally to tie the match at 11-11. A 6-3 stretch from the Eagles gave them a 17-14 advantage, but the Huskies stayed resilient and tied things quickly back at 18-all. The two sides exchanged blows until the Eagles held set point at 24-23. Mackenzie Roddy’s kill tied things back up at 24-24 with the Huskies serving, but an Eagle kill and block back-to-back allowed EMU to claim the opening stanza.
EMU once again moved out to a 6-2 lead in the second set on NIU and even extended that edge to 10-4 before the Huskies were forced to burn a timeout. After an exchange of points made it 14-9 in favor of the visitors, NIU battled back and, with a few EMU errors and timely kills from Lauren Zielinski and Jenna Radtke, knotted things up at 16-16. That’s when the Huskies grabbed control of the set, as a 6-1 run behind kills from Sarah Angelos and Paschke coupled with an Alexis Gonzalez ace made it 22-17 NIU. That extra boost would give them the set, 25-21, and tie things heading into the break.
After halftime, NIU would not allow EMU to gain an early edge for the third-straight set. In fact, the Huskies turned the tables on the Eagles and used a 7-0 run to turn a 4-3 deficit into a 10-4 lead courtesy of two Zielinski kills, a Radtke spike and several EMU errors. The extended run proved to be vital for NIU, as their lead would lengthen to a set-high eight points midway through the third. Though EMU threatened late by getting within 21-18, it was NIU who coasted to a 25-19 set win and a 2-1 advantage. In the third set alone, the Huskies outhit the Eagles, .250-.057.
Using the momentum from the previous set, NIU stormed out to a 9-3 lead on EMU. From there, the Huskies handled the Eagles and used an unrelenting offensive attack to build a 17-10 lead. Following an EMU timeout, the Eagles used a 6-3 rally to get within 20-16. Yet, NIU’s early onslaught was more than enough en route to a 25-21 set four win to clinch the match.
Angelos paced the Huskie offense with 16 kills, while Roddy and Radtke chipped in 15 and 11, respectively. Additionally, Justine Schepler notched 26 digs on defense.
The Huskies close their weekend tomorrow night when they host the Central Michigan Chippewas at 7 p.m inside Victor E. Court.
KALAMAZOO, Mich. - The Western Michigan volleyball team weathered a tough storm in the second set before wreaking a little havoc of their own, defeating the Central Michigan Chippewas 3-1 (25-21, 20-25, 25-19, 25-16) in University Arena on Friday. With the win, the Broncos improve to 9-7 on the season, including a 2-1 mark in Mid-American Conference play.
The Broncos hit an impressive .322 as a team, including marks of .394 and .316 in the third and fourth sets to seal the victory. Conversely, the Broncos out-blocked the Chippewas 8.0 - 5.0 and held their opponents to just a .237 hitting percentage. Lexie Pawlik set the Broncos to the stellar offensive evening, contributing 48 assists as well as 11 digs for her fifth double-double of the season.
Reigning MAC West Offensive Player of the Week Ave Stout had her third straight dominant match in the middle, recording a team-high 15 kills on 27 swings with no errors for a .556 hitting percentage. The freshman middle also added a team-high five blocks, as well as four digs to cap the all-around strong effort. Claire Gerwig continued her own personal hot streak with 14 kills and a .379 hitting percentage. Lena Oliver led a team effort in the back row with a team-high 17 digs, with Pawlik, Caroline Rose, and Kaycee Acree also reaching double-digits.
The first set was a fever pitch of emotion as the in-state rivals traded blows early, but it was the Broncos who would take the emotional first set with a 5-0 run to close the proceedings. The Chippewas took a 9-5 lead on a kill from Angie White, but the Broncos battled back with a 7-0 run to take control of the set; Stout and Rachel Sheffer combined for a block to tie the score at 9, and Sheffer added a kill to give the Broncos the 10-9 lead. Sheffer and Stout stood tall for another block on the next point to give WMU a two-point advantage, and from there the momentum was with the Broncos; after the Chippewas tied the score at 20 on a kill from Danielle Gotham, the Broncos scored five straight, closing the set on a kill from Alysia Baznik.
Central Michigan took the second set in what played out as a mirror image of the first, and looked to have the edge early in the third set before the Broncos buckled down and took control. The Chippewas opened the third set on a 7-3 run, but Baznik pulled the Broncos to within one point on a kill to make it 8-7, and a CMU handling error on the next point tied the set. WMU took the lead for good late in the set on a down-line kill from Gerwig, who ripped a shot off the defender to give the Broncos a 16-15 lead. White made the set as close as it would be for the rest of the net with a kill to cut WMU's lead to 19-17, but the Broncos scored six of the final eight points to seal the third set 25-19.
The Broncos left nothing to chance in the fourth set, opening on a 7-3 run of their own that was capped by a block from Stout and Sheffer. Pawlik notched the tip kill to make it 10-6, and the Broncos were the first to 15 points when Stout fired a two-handed pass over the net for the kill, making it 15-9. Gerwig and Richelle Ranney got involved late in the set with a block of Hallie Enderle, swatting the attack attempt to give the Broncos a 20-14 lead, and Stout delivered the kill shot with a cross court shot for the kill to make it 25-16.