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Ohio's Katie Nelson celebrates with her teammates during the match against Virginia Tech on Sept. 7. (FILE)

Volleyball: Three things to note after Ohio's split weekend in Akron and Buffalo

Ohio defeated Akron 3-1 (25-18, 14-25, 25-11, 26-24) and was swept by Buffalo (25-14, 25-11, 25-20) this past weekend in its final two road matches of the regular season. Here’s three takeaways after the Bobcats’ split weekend.

Friday’s big win

The Bobcats clinched their spot in the Mid-American Conference Tournament with their win Friday in Akron.

Although its postseason reservation came later than it probably hoped, Ohio will continue its streak of 17-consecutive appearances in the MAC Tournament. 

Ohio was helped Friday by a team-high 16-kill performance from Stephanie Olman. The right-side hitter played the majority of the season on the bench but has erupted as a consistent contributor since earning her first start of 2018 on Oct. 19 against Western Michigan.

Coach Deane Webb will almost certainly continue to rely on Olman as the Bobcats seek a deep postseason run — Ohio is 4-2 since Olman’s starting debut.

Saturday’s offensive woes

Ohio’s offense took several steps backward in Saturday’s loss to Buffalo.

The Bobcats’ totaled a .053 hitting percentage — 28 kills and 22 errors on 114 total attacks — in the sweep to the Bulls. It was Ohio’s second-lowest single match hitting percentage of the season, and it was just seven points away from eclipsing its season-low .047 total from Aug. 31 at Nebraska.

Saturday was a chance for the Bobcats to evaluate themselves against the Bulls, who defeated the Bobcats at The Convo on Sept. 28 in a tough five-set match

Ohio never matched the consistency of Buffalo’s attack, which had a .343 hitting percentage and committed nine errors, including an error-free second set.

Looking ahead at the MAC Tournament

Depending on the results of their final two regular season matches — both at The Convo — against Bowling Green and Miami this weekend at The Convo, the Bobcats will likely enter the eight-team MAC Tournament anywhere between the No. 6 and 8 seed, 

The seeding projection means Ohio will likely face Buffalo, Eastern Michigan or Northern Illinois in the first round. The Bobcats are a combined 1-3 against those teams this season, with their only win coming in a sweep against Eastern Michigan on Oct. 27.

The Bobcats have won at least one postseason match in each of their past 17 seasons in the MAC Tournament.


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