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Ohio middle blocker Shelby Walker spikes the ball between Bowling Green outside hitter Nicole Slimko and Bowling Green middle blocker Alyssa Maloney on Sept. 25, in The Convo. Ohio beat Bowling Green, winning three matches in a row.

Volleyball: Ohio's win streak snapped at the hands of NIU

Ohio loses its first regular season conference game in nearly two years after getting swept by Northern Illinois. 

Deane Webb may be a clairvoyant.

On Friday evening, Ohio's coach predicted the Bobcats would be swept by Northern Illinois if they play the same way they did against Western Michigan just a few days before.

His prediction was spot on.

The Bobcats’ streak of 33 consecutive wins in the regular season against Mid-American Conference opponents came to an end, as they suffered a sweep to Northern Illinois on Saturday. It was the longest active streak in the NCAA prior to the loss.

"NIU played great tonight, so we give them all the credit they deserve," Webb said. "Tonight will serve as a great motivator for our team as we work toward our potential this week. We all have to do our jobs better going foward, both coaches and players."

A closer look at Ohio’s (19-4, 9-1 MAC) loss is like looking into a history book.

Before Saturday, the last time a loss could be found on its schedule was over a month ago against Louisville.

Its last loss to a MAC opponent: Oct. 19, 2013, when Ohio fell to Ball State in five sets.

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With due credit to Webb, Saturday’s loss to the Huskies may not have been that hard to predict.

The day before against Western Michigan, Ohio couldn’t get anything working offensively. The Bobcats committed 12 service errors and had a hitting percentage below .200.

As Webb predicted, the performance did carry into the next day.

Against Northern Illinois, Ohio had an abysmal .082 hitting percentage, including two starters — sophomore Jaime Kosiorek and redshirt freshman Katie Nelson — with negative hitting percentages.

The Bobcats also had eight return errors with five coming from junior Mallory Salis.

The only bright spot from the weekend seemed to be senior Shelby Walker’s performance. Walker led the team in kills on both nights, notching 13 kills against the Broncos and 14 kills against the Huskies, respectively.

Ohio’s loss is more than just a streak snapper, however. The Bobcats now have company atop the MAC standings.

Kent State, who defeated Northern Illinois, took down Western Michigan on Saturday night and now owns an 8-2 conference record.

The Golden Flashes and the Bobcats meet in less than two weeks. But in the meantime, we’ll have to wait for Webb’s predictions.

ef684013@ohio.edu

@efelderstein14

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