Look at Ohio’s record and you’ll see one story.
A story of a team that is undoubtedly struggling in nonconference play and has yet to score a win over a large program, like they have done a number of times in the past.
But, listen to those on the team talk and it’s a different story.
A story of a team who is young and improving. A team who is not fussing about early losses in the season, but rather, looking towards to the future.
After dropping two matches to host Oklahoma and Texas-San Antonio and earning their sole victory in the NIKE Invitational, coach Deane Webb opted not to talk about the team’s failures, but rather, it’s successes.
Webb saw two primary impressions when the tournament came to a close on Saturday afternoon, beginning with the play of outside hitters Ali Lake and Jaime Kosiorek. In the tournament finale, Lake notched 11 kills while Kosiorek tallied 21.
Kosiorek, a junior, has been the go-to player for the Bobcats for three years, but as Webb notes, Lake, a redshirt junior, has shown enormous potential for them.
“We're seeing those two emerge and going to a different level than they have before,” Webb said. “It's exciting. They're just becoming go-to dominant players.”
Recording 37 kills, Kosiorek credits her success over the past two weeks to a change in the offensive system. Last week, she recorded 23 kills in a three-game tournament.
"We changed our set a little bit in the past couple weeks,” she said. “It made my life 1,000 times easier. I'm gelling with Katelyn (Burke) and Stephanie (Olman) lot more. Everything's falling into place where we need it to be."
Webb’s second most important impression of the night was the play of Olman, a sophomore, at setter.
Though Katelyn Burke started the season at setter, Olman has assumed the role as of late.
On Saturday, which was also Olman’s 20th birthday, the sophomore put together the best performance of her career so far with 47 digs, as well as a service ace and eight kills.
With the improved play of Olman, Webb has a decision to make next week when the team travels to Blacksburg, Virginia, in who to start at setter.
“They're two different kids,” he said. “I think Steph is continuing (to) grow, and it was good to see that throughout the weekend. It was a good growth opportunity for her to be in tight situations and work her way through it.”
As for the seven losses so far, Ohio doesn’t seem to concerted with those. Their focus isn’t even on next week’s tournament at Virginia Tech.
They’re ready for the weekend after that, when Ohio opens up Mid-American Conference play on Sept. 23 versus Buffalo at The Convo.
For the Bobcats, they knew if they perform well in the MAC, that’ll be their best chance to defend their conference title.
"Our minds are on conference play,” Kosiorek said. "Because that's what we need to be (our) best for.”