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Ohio's Meredith Howe digs to hit the ball in the September 20, 2018 game against Kent State. (File)

Volleyball: Ohio's offense powers Bobcats to sweep over Kent State

Ohio swept Kent State, 3-0 (25-20, 25-22, 25-17), on Thursday at the M.A.C. Center. Here are three takeaways from the match.

Olman steps up again

Coach Deane Webb said that he would consider giving Stephanie Olman more playing time after her strong performance in Ohio’s win last Friday. Webb said he liked how Olman, who is a two-footed jumper and has more range compared to her right-side hitter teammate Katie Nelson, reset the offense.

Webb gave Olman another opportunity in the starting lineup Thursday, and her impact on the Bobcats’ offense was even greater.

Olman led Ohio with 12 kills and a .571 hitting percentage, leading the Bobcats to their second highest hitting percentage match of the season. Ohio finished with a .333 hitting percentage Thursday, just seven points short of the .340 mark it set last Saturday, which was the last time Olman started a match.

It will be interesting to see if Webb starts Olman again Saturday against Eastern Michigan. Webb said Tuesday that Ohio’s blocking abilities will need to be sharp against the Eagles, who like to shift their outside hitters around.

Nelson has played as a right-side hitter this season, but is 6-foot-4 and is the team’s tallest player. Nelson is second on the team with 74 blocks and has .89 blocks per set, while Olman has 12 blocks and .41 blocks per set.

Webb will decide if he’d rather take the hot offensive hand in Olman or go with a stronger defensive look with Nelson for Saturday’s match.

Bouyer’s big night

Dahlias Bouyer has appeared in just six matches this season, but she might’ve just earned herself more playing time after a career-best performance Thursday.

The redshirt freshman totaled a career-high eight kills on 15 total attacks. Bouyer’s four kills in the second set helped boost the Bobcats in their closest set of the match.

Bouyer helped aid Tia Jimerson, who’s inching back to full strength after a month long injury, at the middle blocker position. Jimerson and Bouyer combined for 18 kills.

Team-wide production

Webb should be proud of what his offense accomplished in Thursday’s victory.

Each player who owns an offense-heavy role garnered eight or more kills, and Ohio’s offense accrued 47 combined kills — the most the Bobcats have had in a three-set match in 2018. 

No player was lagging offensively, and the offense was in sync.

Thursday’s match only took an hour and 25 minutes: Webb can thank his offense for making the game quick and ensuring the Bobcats will arrive back in Athens at a reasonable time Thursday night.

What’s next

Ohio (9-13, 5-6 Mid-American Conference) will play Eastern Michigan (14-11, 6-5 MAC) on Saturday at 6 p.m. Eastern Michigan lost to Central Michigan, who had just one conference win before this week, 3-1 on Thursday.


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