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Ohio senior middle blocker Karin Bull hits the ball over the net toward LSU during the Ohio vs LSU game. Ohio beat LSU in all three matches on Septmeber 4, 2015. 

Sports Column: Ohio volleyball looks to repeat successes of a decade ago

Already dominant in the conference, Ohio looks to gain respect in the national ranks.

Ohio is 10 years removed from its best season in program history.

The Bobcats went undefeated in the Mid-American Conference, winning the regular season and the conference tournament. They defeated powerhouses Alabama and Ohio State en route to their first — and only — Sweet Sixteen appearance in their history.

Now in 2015, Ohio is on its way to replicating its successes.

Yes, the Bobcats haven’t won an NCAA Tournament match in five years and haven’t appeared in the tournament since 2013, when they were swept by Michigan State.

But it’s hard to look past their current streaks.

They’ve won 30-straight against conference opponents in the regular season. In their past 10 matches against conference opponents, they’ve lost a total of two games. They’ve swept their past four matches.

Simply put, Ohio is a dominant force and a well-respected opponent in the Mid-American Conference.

On the other hand, Ohio has yet to earn respect in the national landscape.

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In the latest American Volleyball Coaches Association poll, Ohio is not ranked, despite having taken down No. 20 Kentucky, who was ranked No. 10 at the time.

However, in the NCAA RPI poll, Ohio is ranked 23rd in the nation. RPI takes into account a team’s strength of schedule and its performance against those teams.

The Bobcats may be facing a relatively weak conference schedule, but they’re dominating their opponents.

Looking ahead, Ohio has 10 games left in its conference schedule. Six of those games will take place at The Convo, where Ohio has one of the conference's largest contingency of fans.

The Convo will also host the MAC Tournament in about a month.

In that tournament, Ohio will look to redeem itself from last year, when it was upset by the eventual conference champions, Western Michigan.

Of course, its dominance could come into question with a loss to West-leading Northern Illinois, but Ohio’s current success shows otherwise.

Ohio, for all intents and purposes, should cruise through the conference tournament.

That isn’t much of a question.

The real question is: How far it can advance in the national tournament?

@efelderstein14

ef684013@ohio.edu

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