A schedule like the one Ohio has played so far may leave teams wanting to curl up and wait until the conference schedule. For the Bobcats and coach Ryan Theis, they are eager to keep playing.
After hosting the Baymont Inn and Suites Invitational, Theis said his team is continuing to improve, but it has a few more things to cross off its to-do list.
“I think we looked way better this weekend than we did the first weekend of the year, and also I thought our offense was a little bit better,” he said. “There’s a couple of things on our bucket list that we have to get done before regular season play. We’ll hope that they happen this weekend.”
Theis said he would like to see his team prevent the opponent from going on a run for several matches in order to sustain good play. He also would like to see his team close out games, come back stronger and finish the game if they fall behind.
The Bobcats have played seven Bowl Championship Series opponents, and another is on the schedule tonight when they travel to play Pittsburgh.
The Panthers lead the Big East in service aces per set with just more than two. Theis said the Panthers’ aggressive style comes at a high price.
“They miss a very big number (of serves) because they serve so aggressively, so you really just have to try and manage it,” Theis said. “We call it managing the service pressure.”
Theis said the challenge against teams that serve aggressively is finding an offensive rhythm. In practice yesterday, the coaches hit serves into the seams between players to force them to commit to the ball and to hit a good pass.
The Panthers have held their opponents’ hitting average to .131 so far this season. Senior Katie Post and redshirt sophomore Lexie Hartnett struggled against Virginia’s blocking, and Theis said getting these two players going is important.
“We have to find out how they can be successful. … We have to find ways for them to score points,” Theis said. “Typically, we find two or three sets that we feel they can score a majority of the time.”