Three Bowl Championship Series schools came to The Convo this weekend for the Baymont Inn and Suites Invitational. One opponent left Athens with a peaceful night’s sleep while the other two were likely restless.
The Bobcats (4-5, 0-0 MAC) continued to struggle with maintaining a consistent level of play. After taking the first set from the Louisville Cardinals, 25-23, Ohio dropped its next three games to lose the match.
The impact of Cardinals’ outside hitter Lola Arslanbekova was a reason why Ohio could not sustain the momentum it gained from the first game.
Arslanbekova had 18 kills, with 14 in the final two sets.
“I thought we held her early,” Ohio coach Ryan Theis said. “We made a matchup change in the third set to try and combat some of their short serving and that actually worked, but unfortunately that helped Lola against our smaller blocking.”
The Cardinals’ defense held Ohio to a hitting percentage of .147 and senior outside hitter Katie Post was held to a -.043 hitting percentage.
“It was just a rough night. I’ve just got to bounce back,” Post said.
She also said she appreciated her teammates stepping up when she is struggling during a match.
Freshmen Kelly Lamberti and Chelsea Bilger notched 13 and 10 kills, respectively.
Theis said his offense needs to improve and that he needs to find solutions that would not create chaos for his team.
The kind of offense that Theis saw against Marshall was what he hopes to see again. The Bobcats swept Marshall in straight sets, 27-25, 25-17, 25-15.
“I thought it was a much better offensive day. 17 kills in the first set, 12 in the second,” Theis said. “We are starting to kill the ball a little bit better, which is pretty important.”
Bilger, Lexie Hartnett, Lamberti and Faith Robins all had seven or more kills in the match.
“I looked at the kill sheet after the second set, and I thought it was very balanced, and I liked that,” Theis said. “I thought we had several players with two or three kills versus one with seven or eight. Bailey (Karst) did a great job running the offense today.”
Another problem the Bobcats face is allowing the opposition to go on runs. The Virginia Cavaliers rattled off seven straight points in the second set on their way to a four-set victory against Ohio.
“I thought our issue was giving up point runs,” Theis said. “The biggest thing again was relying on our high level of play for long durations, and then one minute, we give up everything that we’ve worked for with a four- or five-point run.”
Lamberti had her best contest as a Bobcat, totaling 20 kills along with 12 digs.