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Shelby Walker, a junior outside hitter, hits the ball past a nonexistent Akron defense. Ohio swept the Zips on Saturday. 

Volleyball: Bobcats still perfect in MAC play, finish season sweep of Golden Flashes

Ohio is 11-0 in MAC play for the first time since 2006 when it went undefeated.

The last time Ohio was in Kent State’s Memorial Athletic and Convocation Center it left with its first loss of a Mid-American Conference campaign.

With a four-set victory over the Golden Flashes on Thursday, the Bobcats (18-4, 11-0 Mid-American Conference) were able to erase one of their few smudges on the 2013 season when Kent State dealt Ohio one of its two losses all MAC season.

Unlike its past few games, Ohio was unable to grab control early as the first set was tight throughout. The Bobcats were led by their two outsides, freshman Jaime Kosiorek and senior Kelly Lamberti, who accounted for 14 of the team’s points in the set against the Golden Flashes (12-12, 4-7 MAC).

Kosiorek, the team leader in service aces, once again found the touch from the service line as she recorded five on the night including three which came in the first set. After getting a kill to give the Bobcats a 24-22 lead, Kosiorek would finish the set herself as closed out the set with one of those three aces.

They would see consistent offense from Kosiorek and Lamberti all night long as the duo as they led the team in both kills and kill percentage. They also combined to have seven of the Bobcat’s eight service aces.

The Bobcats have seemed to put their second set slumps behind them as they claimed 25-16 victory. They have now won the second set in the past four games to go up 2-0 in each of those matches.

“Tonight was a challenging match,” coach Deane Webb said. “Give credit to Kent State for playing very hard throughout the match and making it a difficult one for us. We are happy to earn a conference win, even if it wasn't the best volleyball we've played. I am thankful that our team played hard and played together, and we emotionally responded well in tough situations."

With the win, the Bobcats have started MAC play 11-0 for the first time since 2006. That squad went undefeated in MAC play en route to the NCAA Tournament, where they lost to Kentucky in the first round.

“Our captains -- they have done a great job keeping our team grounded,” Webb said. “We really focus on one match and a time and aren’t getting too concerned with what’s going to happen a month from now, eight weeks from now, whatever. We’re just focusing on the match at hand, the practice at hand.”

In order to go undefeated in conference play, Ohio will need to win their next five games of the conference season. For the Bobcats though, they are not looking too far into the future, but instead onto their next opponent.

“It’s not about how we start it’s how we finish,” junior setter Abby Gilleland said. “I think just remembering that and kind of applying that to how everything goes. Like, coming into practice and making sure we end on a high note, finishing sets on high notes. We just want that to translate throughout the season and hopefully leads us to something we haven’t done since 2006.”

They will travel back to The Convo to take on Eastern Michigan (15-10, 6-5 MAC) who has won four straight after their five set victory over Central Michigan on Thursday night.

The Eagles currently sit at fourth in the MAC West as their win Thursday night moved them within a half game of Western Michigan for the third in the West.

Like Ohio, Eastern Michigan wins on the defensive end of the floor as opponents have only a .185 attacking percentage on the season.

“Eastern is one of those teams that has all of the pieces,” Webb said. “They’re incredibly athletic behind and their middle. Their setter attacks more than any other setter in the conference. They’re better than what their record would indicate.”

@Kovarandrew

ak840511@ohio.edu

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