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Ohio setter Abby Gilleland and middle blocker Katie Nelson jump to block a ball returned by LSU during a game on Sept. 4 at The Convo. The Bobcats came out on top, winning all three matches of the game.

Volleyball: Ohio to open MAC play this weekend against Bowling Green and Miami (OH)

Following a few long weeks of travel, the Bobcats settle in at home to take on their first two MAC opponents.

The Bobcats finished non-conference play in unexpected fashion.

They knocked off a nationally-ranked Kentucky team, compiled a 10-3 record while receiving votes in Top 25 polls and helped give their coach, Deane Webb, his 400th victory  all in a matter of four weeks.

Compared to last year, Ohio is in an improved position  the Bobcats were 7-4 going into Mid-American Conference play  but Webb reminded his team to not get too ahead of themselves.

“It's really a clean slate," Webb said of Ohio starting its MAC schedule Friday following last year's undefeated run."We're 0-0 in the MAC right now, just like everybody else. Six of our players weren't even here for last year. They weren't a part of any of that. Some of the players that were, they've now graduated and moved on. It's a different team. It's a different year.”

Ohio will look to mark up that clean slate this weekend at The Convo in matches against Bowling Green (4-9) on Friday and Miami (8-5) on Saturday. Both matches will start at 7 p.m.

Sure, the Bobcats may be a bit different when you glance at the roster, but the upperclassmen from last year's team may provide opponents a reminder as to how good they still are.

Senior Meredith Ashy was voted MAC East Defensive Player of the Week for two straight weeks, and this week senior Karin Bull took home the same award.

Bull is second in the MAC in blocks with 63 and is also third in hitting percentage at .341. Ashy leads the MAC with 266 total digs, while senior Abby Gilleland leads the conference with 505 total assists.

Though hindered by quad injuries for most of this year, junior Mallory Salis is also primed to play this weekend after she tallied 22 kills last Friday against Florida Gulf Coast.

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Webb said this weekend will present a more balanced style of play with production from multiple players from Miami, while Bowling Green will feed its "workhorse" in junior outside hitter Jelena Sunjic

Ohio will look to slow down Sunjic’s attack on its home court  a place where Bowling Green does not have fond memories.

Despite the Falcons owning a 42-33 record against the Bobcats, they have just gone 14-18 versus the Bobcats in Athens.

“It's just great to have kind of the comforts of home," Webb said. "That's a big advantage. Then, of course, playing in front of our crowd. Our team loves playing at home. Those two things together is just a great benefit for us.”

nk596613@ohio.edu

@NKairys

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