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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. 

Volleyball: Two opponents from bottom of MAC standings visit Ohio

Ball State and Toledo will visit MAC-leading Ohio for a pair of conference games

The Bobcats are in for a colorful weekend.

With Ohio's (16-3, 6-0 in the MAC) Friday match against Ball State (9-11, 3-3 in the MAC) being dubbed "Dig Pink" and Saturday’s match against Toledo (3-16, 0-6 in the MAC) a part of the "Bobcat Blackout" weekend, there is certainly potential for a distraction, according to coach Deane Webb.

And with a regular season conference win streak spanning 30 games, the Bobcats don’t want that.

“It certainly has potential to be a distraction when you have this many things going on on campus,” Webb said. “It's important that when we get to the gym that our mindset changes. When the whistle blows, we need to focus on our opponent. I think our team is mature enough to do that, to honor where honor needs to happen, to publicize our program when those type of events need to happen, but when it's game time, it's game time."

With a busy weekend ahead, Ohio has been preparing for their opponents, who are at the bottom of the of the Mid-American Conference West division.

Ohio's first opponent, Ball State, started off its conference schedule with a 3-0 record, including a win against the West-leading Northern Illinois but then dropped its next three.

Ball State does have one of the stronger defenses in the conference, holding opposing offenses to a .205 hitting percentage, good for third-best in the MAC. Seniors Kelly Hopkins and Kati Vasalakis anchor the Cardinals defense with impressive numbers in the blocks and digs departments, respectively.

Ohio has a history with Ball State, as the Cardinals were the last conference opponent to defeat the Bobcats at home in the regular season.

“We don't ever overlook anyone,” Webb said. “It doesn't matter really what their record is. We're human. We know that one team may be better than another on a given weekend, but it's about our side. We have to get better, regardless if we're playing the best team in the MAC or a team that's struggling, we have to get better.”

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Saturday’s opponent, Toledo, has the worst record in the conference, as it's on a seven-game losing streak.

The Rockets have the second-worst hitting percentage in the conference and the fourth-least amount of kills.

With its quality of opponents, Ohio could extend its current winning streak to 11 after the colorful weekend is complete.


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