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Ohio volleyball setter Abby Gilleland attempts to block the ball coming over the net during the match against Eastern Michigan. The Bobcats defeated the Eagles 3-1. 

Volleyball: This weekend’s Battle of the Bricks to have special meaning for one Bobcat

Coleman family shows that Battle of the Bricks rivalry holds weight outside Ohio borders.

From the brick streets of Athens to the heart of Texas, the Battle of the Bricks reso­nates throughout the country.

For one Bobcat volleyball player, the rivalry between OU and Miami University is much bigger than the game itself.

Sophomore defensive spe­cialist Brooke Coleman now lives in a divided household of sorts, as she plays volleyball at Ohio, while her brother, Blake, is on the Miami hockey team.

The Battle of the Bricks rivalry has produced many divided households across the state, but outside of Ohio few know of the tradition be­tween the schools. One that does, however, is the Coleman household in Plano, Texas — much further than most call home.

The distance itself may make it seem odd that they would both end up playing at rival schools in Ohio, but the bond between brother and sis­ter brought the Texas duo to their new homes.

“It’s different, both com­ing from Texas no one would think we would end up in Ohio,” Coleman said. “I think with him playing at Miami, it kind of swayed my decision a lot be­cause we are really close.”

Just two years after her brother made the decision to come to the state of Ohio, Coleman would leave home, electing to come play for the Bobcats to etch her name into the Battle of the Bricks.

Over 16 hours to the south­west, there is always one Tex­an household that is as tuned into the rivalry.

“A lot of the times we’ll be playing on the same nights, so our parents will be watching us on both screens or they’ll pick one of our weekends to come,” Coleman said. “Unfor­tunately, both years that we have gone to play at Miami he played somewhere else. This year we played Miami and he played at BG, then we switched and we actually passed each other on the road.”

The RedHawks (18-8, 11-3 Mid-American Conference) took the Bobcats to five sets in that match, which was the only time they had been taken the distance in a conference match this season. Ohio (21- 4, 14-0 MAC) hopes Coleman’s new home, The Convo, will provide the advantage it needs to close out an undefeated conference season.

“A lot of people have a tough time playing in our gym,” Coleman said. “Having the home court is a huge ad­vantage, knowing we will be in our own locker room and we are always more pumped up there. We play better on our home court and people are scared to play us here.”

Before taking on Miami on Saturday, Ohio will host Bowling Green (7-19, 4-10 MAC) on Friday. The Bobcats beat the Falcons in a three-set sweep earlier this year. Despite Bowling Green being the earlier match, the bulk of this week’s preparations have been for Miami.

In this edition of the Battle of the Bricks, Ohio will have a little added motivation by look­ing to send its seniors out on the right note while making history.

“It’s Senior Day for our kids,” said coach Deane Webb. “It’s the end of regular sea­son. If we win Friday, then Saturday gets a little bit more special. But our goal that we wrote down at the beginning of the season was to win the regular season. We didn’t write down to go 16-0. So, we need to win the regular season.”


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