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Ohio outside hitter Kelly Lamberti serves the ball during the second game of the Ohio vs. Miami game at the Convocation Center on Friday, October 4, 2013. Ohio beat Miami 3-1.

Volleyball: 'Cats look to distance themselves in Battle of the Bricks

#OhioVB The Battle of the Bricks hold more weight this year as Ohio looks to further distance themselves in the MAC


With now a two-match lead in the Mid-American Conference East Division, Ohio will go on the road to try and further distance themselves from the competition.

The Bobcats first stop will be Oxford where they will play the annual Battle of the Bricks. The RedHawks are in second place behind Ohio (11-4, 4-0 MAC), which adds more intensity to the rivalry.

“I think Miami being a rival for our school, everyone expects it to be a big game and everyone looks at it as a school rivalry as well,” sophomore defensive specialist Brooke Coleman said. “They are doing pretty well this year and we need to take them seriously and make sure we hold up all of our stuff on our end.”

The rivalry runs deep in the Coleman household as her brother, Blake, plays on the RedHawks hockey team.

However, Miami (9-7, 2-2 MAC) has not defeated Ohio since 2010 when it beat the Bobcats in four sets. Since, Ohio has won seven-straight against the RedHawks while only dropping four sets.

In Ohio’s last match against Miami, the RedHawks forced the match to five sets, though the Bobcats won. This time, the Bobcats are hoping the game won’t come down to the final frame.

“I think putting no doubt in people’s mind that we are the top team in the division whether we are playing a team either home or away people think we are at the top of the MAC and we need to play like it,” Coleman said. “Even against teams on the road we need to focus and not just survive.”

Height has given Ohio troubles this season and that is what Miami has in 6-foot-5 junior middle blocker Jenny Ingle, who leads the MAC with a .402 hitting percentage. The RedHawks feature their middle blocker more than most, as it will be up to junior middle blocker Karin Bull and senior middle blocker Hannah Burkle to stop the MAC’s tallest player.

“They are a tough team to play against,” coach Deane Webb said. “They have a couple very good middles with a balanced pin placement and can do a lot of things very well and just have a lot of size.”

Despite the fact that Miami is second in the MAC East, race their two wins have come against teams in the middle or lower end of the conference. Miami defeated Akron in four sets while opening last weekend with a four-set victory over Bowling Green.

Ohio rolled over Akron last weekend in three sets, while Bowling Green has tallied only three wins and none yet in MAC play. The Falcons will face the Bobcats in their second game of the weekend.

Bowling Green’s three wins have come in five sets as they look to rebuild behind a young team. The Falcons only have two upperclassmen on the roster as 11 freshman and sophomores make up a majority of the roster.

Ohio shouldn’t take the Falcons lightly, though. Last year a fairly inexperienced Kent State squad took down the Bobcats in four sets for Ohio’s first loss of the MAC slate after also starting 4-0 in conference play.

“It’s funny, the eye test says they are very good and they can do a number of things very well,” Webb said. “Buffalo had a hard time containing them. They have just been on the short end of the stick this season.”


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