Ohio’s non-conference road to the start of Mid-American Conference play was a lot like a first time on a roller coaster.
There were cries. There were cheers. But ultimately the ride ended, and the riders can just be happy they’re still alive. The Bobcats feel the same way.
Over the weekend, Ohio ended pre-MAC play with a disappointing 3-0 loss to Radford and a nail-biting 3-2 victory over Virginia Tech.
“Survive is a good word,” junior outside hitter Jaime Kosiorek said of the win before conference play.
Ohio nearly closed out the match against the Hokies in the third set up 24-19, but the Bobcats lost eight of the next nine points – which lost them the set. The Bobcats went on to then drop the fourth set, but rallied to dominate the fifth set.
Kosiorek, with a new role allowing her to ditch the back row and focus on attacking, recorded a career-high 25 kills against Virginia Tech – four of which came in the fifth set.
“At times, she had good matchups. At times, she didn't,” Ohio coach Deane Webb said. “Still, she was scoring. She was good.”
Kosiorek moving around in the formation wasn’t much of a surprise. All season, Webb has been moving his players in the line-up like chess pieces, trying to find the best fit for his growing team.
"I think anytime that you're struggling, you can either just keep trying to get better with what you have, but sometimes you need to try something new,” Webb said.
Against Virginia Tech, senior Mallory Salis was moved from her familiar position at outside hitter to libero, leaving freshman Lizzie Stephens to fill-in on the attack.
The result was positive. Salis chipped in a career-high 24 digs, and Stephens contributed a double-double with 15 kills and 13 digs.
Webb’s changes may be coming at the right time, and winning on the road against an Atlantic Coast Conference opponent for the first time since Aug. 31, 2002 may be proof.
Ohio will punch its ticket for the roller coaster that is MAC conference play Friday against Akron at The Convo.
As Kosiorek put it justly, the MAC is “up in the air.”