Ohio made quick work of Bowling Green on Friday, beating the Falcons in three sets.
The win gives Ohio at least a share of the Mid-American Conference title heading into the final game of the season against Miami. Bowling Green gave Ohio its best effort early, but the Bobcats were able to respond to everything the Falcons threw at them.
Ohio didn’t initially respond well to the pressure by Bowling Green, but once again the Bobcats showed that they can turn on the switch when they want to. This was no more evident than when the score was 4-3 in the first set. Ohio’s back row absorbed a number of hard shots, allowing sophomore outside hitter Mallory Salis to finish off the point.
Despite the energy that point gave the Bobcats, they were never able to build a large lead on the Falcons, finally closing them out 25-20.
“At the beginning of the game they were tipping and there was a lot of off speed which we kind of expected coming in,” Ohio coach Deane Webb said. “I think we just didn’t respond really well to it. As the match went on, we were crisper offensively.”
The Bobcats' one slip up of the match came in the second set. The Falcons came out and grabbed a 16-11 lead midway through the frame. Down five points, Salis would score six of the next seven points for Ohio to tie the set at 17 all.
“To be honest, I couldn’t even tell you that that happened,” Salis said. “It’s all about the team here. Once you get on a run and you’re getting those kills, it’s all about adrenaline and knowing that my setter trusts in me. Also give credit to the blockers up front who are pulling their players which gives me a huge advantage.”
Salis and junior middle blocker Karin Bull made the most of their limited offensive opportunities. Bull ended with a game-high 13 kills, while Salis tallied nine for the Bobcats. Neither player recorded a single attack error, as the pair helped finish off Bowling Green 25-20 in the second set.
The second set seemed to take a lot out of the Falcons, as the Bobcats were able to come out and cruise to a 25-14 victory in the third. With sophomore defensive specialist Brooke Coleman on the service line, Ohio broke away from Bowling Green, establishing an early 10-5 advantage.
Now one game away from a perfect MAC campaign, the Bobcats take on a Miami team that took them to five sets earlier this season. Miami was the only team that took Ohio to five sets during conference play this season.
“We’re going to have to be a lot cleaner (Saturday),” Webb said. “We’re going to have to play good volleyball from the beginning if we’re going to beat Miami.”