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Ohio junior outside hitter Mallory Salis (#6) goes up for a kill against Miami during their MAC game at The Convo. 

Volleyball: Ohio prepares for energized match at Kent State

Ohio (12-3, 2-0 in the MAC) heads to Kent State (7-7, 1-1 in the MAC) for important conference matchup. 

Sophomore Jaime Kosiorek did cartwheels near the attack line and senior Meredith Ashy marveled at the amount of reporters watching practice.

A day after the Bobcats went undefeated in their first two conference games, they looked calm and relaxed as they took the court for practice.

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Their attitude is not at all indicative of how they’re preparing for Thursday’s contest against Kent State.

Since 2012, Ohio (12-3, 2-0 in the MAC) has lost just five matches against Mid-American Conference opponents. One of those losses came against Kent State.

Despite winning 26-straight regular season matches against conference opponents, the Bobcats aren't going to take the Golden Flashes easily — as they shouldn’t.

Last year, they did take the match at the M.A.C. Center, but it didn’t come easily.

“At their place, it was pretty hairy,” coach Deane Webb said. “It was pretty close. They had a couple kids that really got hot for their team. Just really were playing well, and so, we felt pretty fortunate to get out of there with a win.”

Ohio won in four sets last year, but the match was much closer as the final score will show. Three of the four sets were decided by less than three points.

The Bobcats are preparing for another close contest this weekend — one they expect to be incredibly loud.

At the M.A.C. Center, Kent State’s band is right on top of the visiting opponents, alongside the Golden Flashes’ fan section, which attempts to heckle and disrupt the visitors.

“That crowd is very involved,” junior Mallory Salis said. “They heckle you and they do everything they can to get in your head. I think we just need to feed off that and enjoy that energy. We’re a very energized team and we like that loudness. We like when the crowd is involved.”

Along with the crowd, Ohio will have its hands full with Kent State’s offense. Sophomore Kelsey Bittinger is tied for third-place in the conference with 38 kills. Kent State also boasts the most sets in the conference, largely in part to junior setter Katarina Kojic.

The Bobcats certainly have the defense—and offense—to matchup, though. Senior Abby Gilleland might be the most well-rounded player in the conference, as a matter of fact. The setter was named the Mid-American Conference East Offensive and Defensive player of the week, the first player to do so in over two years.


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