The fifth set just wasn’t for Ohio.
In the fifth and deciding set, the Bobcats had 10 errors. Two of them were service errors, six were attacking miscues.
All 10 of them were enough, though.
Those late-game errors proved costly as the Bobcats battled back from being down 2-1, but fell in five sets (25-17, 21-25, 22-25, 25-22, 17-19) to Toledo on Friday night in The Convo.
It was the Bobcats’ third straight five-set match. It was the fourth match out of the last five to go to a deciding fifth set. The team is now 2-2 in their last four and 4-3 in five-set matches on the season.
“We need to communicate,” coach Deane Webb said. “There were a number of times where we communicated, but we communicated too late and that’s too late to be able to communicate as a defender.”
Although the errors multiplied as the fifth set went on, Lizzie Stephens recovered from a slow start to the match and tallied 18 kills. The kills weren’t what stuck out.
Stephens is becoming the leader for the Bobcats. With every game, it becomes more apparent, it’s her team.
She’s been forced into the role, yes. But since the captains of the team, Katie Nelson and Jaime Kosiorek, went down to injury early in the season, Stephens has proven she’s more than willing to step up as the Bobcats’ leader.
In the fourth set, Toledo was starting to find a rhythm, able to obtain two straight service aces. Then Stephens had seen enough.
Off a Vera Giacomazzi assist, Stephens hit possibly her hardest ball of the night, sending it into the floor, slashing the Rockets’ momentum.
Then in the fifth set with her team up, Stephens had a service ace.
She calls it competitiveness — willing to do what it takes to win. But the leadership aspect is budding.
“I’m getting more comfortable in the role as time goes on,” Stephens said.
And although they walked out of The Convo on the wrong side of a five-set match, the Bobcats know they have a leader. A leader that will help them through the tough loss.
It’s a quick turn-around, as Ohio will host Ball State on Saturday night.
The Bobcats and Cardinals have gone to five sets the last two times they’ve played. Who’s to say they won’t again Saturday?
After all, the Bobcats are getting used to playing in these grinding five-set matches.