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The Ohio Bobcats celebrate their sweep of Akron. The win extended Ohio's lead in the MAC east. 

Wins give ‘Cats an edge in the MAC, still undefeated

After grabbing a pair of sweeps this weekend at home, the Bobcats hold a two game lead. 

With another pair of victories this weekend, Ohio now has a two-match lead in the Mid-American Conference East Division.

Ohio swept both their matches over Buffalo and Akron. The Bulls could have caused problems, but their leading scorer Tahleia Bishop, a junior outside hitter, was out with the flu.

Coming into the weekend, Bishop led the conference with 4.67 kills per set. With the absence of the First Team All-MAC selection, Ohio (11-4, 4-0 MAC) was able to key in on Buffalo’s second and third options. The Bobcats held freshman Skyler Day and junior Megan Lipski to three kills combined, as the duo also had 13 errors combined.

“No offense to the other outsides out there, but it allowed us to defend both of them pretty similarly whereas Bishop we planned on defending in a very different manner,” coach Deane Webb said.

Although the Bobcats were able to shut down the Bulls outside hitters, they struggled against the middle blockers. Juniors Amber Hatchett and Akeila Lain combined for 16 kills while only committing three attack errors.

The Bobcats’ focus going into Saturday’s “Dig Pink” match against Akron was to stop the production of the middles. They held the Zips middle blockers to five kills, as Ohio’s servers were able to get Akron out of its offensive rhythm.

Since entering MAC play the Bobcats have not been able to sustain their momentum after winning the first set. This happened yet again against Buffalo as the team fell behind early in the second set before rallying for a 25-17 win.

“This has been a trend as of late, but what was good about this set was that it only lasted about four points,” Webb said. “We had a couple of early errors and if you look at those first two sets in those conference matches it was sparked by our errors, hitting balls out of bounds, serving errors, etc.”

After grabbing a 25-14 victory in the opening set against Akron, Ohio continued its momentum on both sides of the ball. They used a 16-4 run in the middle of the set to open up the game to 21-8 as Ohio went on to win the game 25-13.

The Bobcats had its way on the offensive end as it had a season high .370 attack percentage. Junior middle blocker Shelby Walker led the Bobcats in that category with a .500 attack percentage. 

On the night, Ohio only had eight attack errors while Akron had 21 errors. Most of the Zips mistakes were attributed to mental mistakes as the Bobcats only had eight team blocks.

The Bobcats put aside their normal jerseys for the evening in favor of pink for the “Dig Pink” match. The players admitted that Saturday was more than just a game of volleyball, but a chance to raise awareness for breast cancer. 

“I think our main focus was to go out there and have fun and just play for a bigger purpose than ourselves,” Walker said. “So I think we did that tonight.”

@Kovarandrew

ak840511@ohio.edu 

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