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Ohio University junior Mallory Salis spikes the ball over the net against Central Michigan on Nov. 7. Ohio won 3-0. 

Volleyball: Ohio will celebrate five seniors

In the final weekend of the regular season, Ohio prepares to honor their five seniors. 

In eight days, Ohio’s seniors will be playing in the biggest, and maybe their last, matches of their career.

But for now, it’s time to celebrate.

On Saturday, the program will celebrate Senior Day, where Ohio will honor five seniors.

For any team, it might be unique to have five seniors. For Ohio’s five seniors, the path they took to this weekend might be even more unique.

Three of the five seniors, Abby Gilleland, Meredith Ashy, and Karin Bull, have been through two coaches, three regular season titles, a Mid-American Conference Tournament title, and an appearance in the NCAA Tournament.

The other two, Aubree Hord and Shelby Walker, both transferred to Ohio last year.

“We're looking for all five of them, obviously, to have a great week this week, have their last regular season MAC home games, and then, we're going to be relying on their leadership," coach Deane Webb said.

“If we, hopefully, win the conference tournament, then go on to the NCAA Tournament, that group of five will be vital to our success."

Before the team can even think about the NCAA Tournament, it’ll have to go through this weekend’s opponents in Buffalo and Akron.

The two teams sit near the bottom of the MAC East Division, but the Bulls have had a successful second half to their conference schedule.

Ever since losing to Northern Illinois on Oct. 17, Buffalo has gone 4-2, picking up five-set wins against Eastern Michigan and Central Michigan.

“I think Buffalo's a team that if you take the first half of their season and the second half of their season, they've been the biggest change in a positive direction,” Webb said. “We played them last time, and they really hadn't found that much success at that point.

"But, lately, they've done really well. They've earned a number of wins that, maybe, if you looked at the first part of their year you wouldn't expect.”

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Buffalo boasts senior Megan Lipski, who is seventh in the conference in kills. Despite her, Buffalo's offense is weak, ranking last in hitting percentage and assists.

As the Bobcats know well, Buffalo’s service return game is weak as well, as sophomore Jaime Kosiorek set a school record last time against the Bulls, tallying nine aces.

On the other hand, Akron’s defense as a whole has been its downfall. The Zips have allowed a conference-high .236 hitting percentage while also tallying the conference’s fewest blocks.

@efelderstein14

ef684013@ohio.edu

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