After winning the first two sets, Ohio was well on its way to its first Mid-American Conference win and its fourth-straight home sweep.
Then, it wasn’t.
The Bobcats (8-6, 0-1 MAC) allowed Bowling Green (7-6, 1-0 MAC) to come back from a 2-0 deficit in a 3-2 (25-23, 25-21, 14-25, 16-25, 15-13) loss Friday night in The Convo.
Ohio started strong with an attack that featured a .310 hitting percentage in the second set. After that, though, it went downhill.
The Bobcats looked like a completely different team in the third and fourth sets as the offense collapsed. In the third set, they had a .022 hitting percentage, and it didn’t get much better with a .125 percentage in the fourth.
“We lost some comfort, somewhere in there, as we went forward in the third and fourth set,” coach Deane Webb said. “I talk to the team all the time. If you’re up and take your foot off the gas 2 or 3 percent, the whole match flips.”
The match flipped fast on the Bobcats. The Falcons became an offensive juggernaut with a .366 hitting percentage in the third set and a .485 percentage in the fourth.
Ohio showed life in the fifth set, and it even had a late lead after junior Tia Jimerson blocked a ball straight down — followed by a Michael Jordan-like finger wag, but it wasn’t enough to salvage a win.
“In the fifth set, we had our chances. We were up late and had some errors,” Webb said. “At the same time, we also missed some opportunities aggressively that were there that we could’ve been more aggressive on, and that’s unfortunate.”
Tied at 13 in the fifth set, Bowling Green hit a ball out of bounds that gave Ohio a lead with a chance to win the game. The Falcons challenged, though, and upon review, they were awarded the point, as an Ohio player tipped the ball. This gave Bowling Green the lead, which it capitalized on the next point as the ball hit the ground in the middle of Ohio’s side.
The Bobcats’ 26 unforced errors caught up to them, as they lost what seemed to be a more than winnable match that could have put them in control of the MAC East with a win.
Ohio has another home match Saturday against Miami at 5 p.m., who may be an even tougher opponent. That match is critical, as the Bobcats don’t want to lose positioning in the MAC East.