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Jaime Kosiorek prepares to bump the ball in Ohio’s game against Ball State on Oct. 16 at The Convo. The Bobcats won the game 3-2. 

Volleyball: Ohio seeks revenge against Western Michigan, battles Northern Illinois for top spot in MAC

The Bobcats have been awaiting the Western Michigan game all season after the Broncos ended Ohio's 2014 MAC tournament run.

The Bobcats have been waiting for this weekend for awhile.

It’s no surprise their ears perk up, nostrils flare, eyes bulge and hearts burn when the mention of two words bring back memories of utter shock and what could have been: Western Michigan.

“We have a chip on our shoulder,” senior Shelby Walker said on playing the Broncos, who ended the Bobcats' hopes of an NCAA tournament run by knocking them out in the first round of the 2014 Mid-American Conference tournament.

“We are looking forward to the challenge this weekend," she said. "Maybe we can take back that revenge that ended our season last year.”

Ohio (18-3, 8-0 MAC) will face arguably its toughest weekend of the year with matches against Northern Illinois (11-9, 7-1 MAC) and aforementioned Western Michigan (10-13, 6-2 MAC).

The scope of the matchup against the Broncos is so large, even freshman Erica Walker has experienced the anticipation toward the road trip to Kalamazoo, Michigan. 

“They’ve been really looking forward to this game for the entire season,” Walker said of her teammates. “Everyone has just been thinking, ‘Western Michigan, Western Michigan,’ I’m just doing whatever I can to work hard for the team and pull out a win.”

Seeking their 12th win in a row, the Bobcats are on a dominant tear, despite recently showing signs of a lack of focus.

A near loss to Ball State at home with service error issues and a close match against Toledo — the last-place team in the MAC — is appealing to the Broncos.

Ohio coach Deane Webb said it was so difficult to overcome the haunting of an upset loss to the Broncos in last season’s tournament because of the way the Bobcats fell.

“When you’re undefeated and then you lose, you have to deal with some different feelings,” Webb said earlier this season. “Then you’re dealing with feelings like, ‘Wow, we feel guilty.' ”

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There is no time for the Bobcats to feel guilty, but it doesn’t seem like Webb’s team needs any sort of fiery pep-talk from its coach this weekend.

“I think the motivation will be there,” Webb said. “And I think that will express itself today, tomorrow and the rest of the week in practice. That’s where it should express itself. Then, when we get to the game, it should just be an intense desire to win.”


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