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Volleyball: 'Cats net comeback win over Pitt with 4th-set surge

On Monday, coach Ryan Theis spoke of things that still needed to be crossed off his team’s to-do list before the conference schedule begins.

In the five-set match against Pittsburgh yesterday, Ohio (5-5, 0-0 MAC) crossed off a few of those things and came away with a victory.

Ohio held off the long point run in the first set and evened the score at 24-24, but the Panthers took the set on a service ace by Panthers’ setter Lindsey Zitzke to win 26-24. In the loss, Theis saw two of his key offensive players get back on track.

Redshirt sophomore Lexie Hartnett and senior Katie Post scored points for the Bobcats. Post had three kills to go along with Hartnett’s five in the set.

Despite the first-set loss, Ohio improved from previous outings.

“(We were) more efficient in the middle tonight, but we need even more,” Theis said.  

Another thing Theis wanted to cross of the list was coming from behind to finish off opponents.

In the second set of the match, the Bobcats fell behind by as many as four points twice. Ohio took the lead on kills from Kelly Lamberti and Chelsea Bilger, and Hartnett killed the ball for the final point to seal the set at 25-23 and even the match at 1-1.

In the third set, the Panthers were able to sustain at least a four-point lead for most of the match and won 25-20. The offensive attack was diverse, as middle blocker Kiesha Leggs had five kills in the set and Jasmine Dittrich added four more.

In the pivotal fourth set of the match, the Bobcats jumped out to an early 6-1 lead. But as the match progressed, Pittsburgh grabbed hold of the lead at 24-20. Ohio rattled off six straight points to take the game 26-24 and to avoid losing the match.

“That’s quite an anomaly. That doesn’t happen often,” Theis said.

He said that a tough comeback win was yet another thing that can be crossed off the list.

In a back-and-forth fifth set, Lamberti pushed Ohio to victory. She tied the game with one of her 21 kills and picked up a service ace to put the score at 20-19 before a Panther attack error sealed the victory for the Bobcats at 21-19.

“Kelly made a great swing to kill the ball, ripped off a great serve for the next point, and was part of three great plays (to end the game),” Theis said.

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