With wins over Miami and Bowling Green, Ohio has its best start MAC since 2011
With two wins this weekend, the Bobcats have won seven straight and lead the Mid-American Conference East Division by three matches.
Ohio had to come from behind Friday in the Battle of the Bricks to beat Miami in five sets. One night later in Bowling Green the Bobcats swept the Falcons in three sets to claim their second road victory of the weekend.
Heading into the Battle of the Bricks, Ohio sat atop the MAC East with Miami two games behind in second. A win for the Bobcats would have given them a firm grip on the division where a Miami win would have tightened up the standings.
Ohio looked determined to grab the advantage early and a 25-18 victory in the first set gave the Bobcats just that. During the past few matches Ohio has struggled in the second set and it suffered another let down as Miami grabbed a 25-21 victory. The RedHawks (10-8, 3-3 MAC) would parlay that momentum into the next set taking the lead early and maintaining that to a 25-20 victory.
The Bobcats rallied in the final two sets as they took a 25-16 victory in the fourth and a 15-8 win in the fifth to win against rival Miami. Freshman outside hitter Jaime Kosiorek had 22 kills to lead Ohio alongside junior setter Abby Gilleland who had her second career triple double with 11 kills, 44 assists, and 15 digs.
“Having Abby as an attacker, that’s just a piece that a lot of teams don’t have,” coach Deane Webb said. “You’re going to have other hitters that help out, but when Abby is front row she is really another attacker for us as well as getting assists.”
Entering Saturday, Bowling Green had one just win in the MAC, but played above its record as they were in each set with the Bobcats before committing hitting errors which ultimately lost them the match. They committed 16 hitting errors on the night allowing Ohio to take the three set victory.
“Bowling Green is a team that is much better than their record would indicate,” Webb said. “We knew we would be pushed. I’m thankful that we earned the sweep, and now ready to focus on Ball State.”
Ohio will hit the road again next weekend and travel to Ball State and Toledo. The Cardinals are second in the MAC West where the Rockets have only won one game all year long.
Ohio (13-4, 6-0 MAC) rests atop the MAC alongside Northern Illinois as they are the two remaining undefeated teams in conference play. This is the first time since 2011 the Bobcats have started MAC play 6-0 and they will look to continue that momentum heading into next weekend to equal their best start since 2009. That year the Bobcats finished 15-1 in conference and advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament.
Although their record in MAC play is perfect, Webb understands there is plenty of room to improve, which he recognized after playing Bowling Green (4-14, 1-5 MAC).
“It is always great to get road wins, and tonight was no exception,” Webb said. “We executed at a high level during portions of the match, and scrambled our way to winning points when we weren’t executing. We will take the win, and we’ll also take the knowledge that we need to improve.”