When Meredith Howe served the ball into the back of Toledo’s defense early in the second set and the referee called it out, the Ohio fans were not happy.
They started yelling toward the Bobcats’ bench on the other side, motioning for a challenge. Deane Webb had no choice but to listen to the fans.
“When you hear that big of a reaction, you’re like, ‘OK, that was probably in,’” Webb said. “So that was definitely a factor on that one.”
Luckily for Webb and the crowd, Ohio won the challenge and cruised to a 3-0 (25-14, 25-15, 25-22) win over Toledo on Saturday night in The Convo.
For the Bobcats (13-8, 5-3 Mid-American Conference), this match was more than an easy win against a team that had lost seven straight entering the match. It was personal.
The current Ohio roster had never beaten Toledo in the regular season before Saturday and had lost in five sets the previous two seasons.
“It’s been one of our worst games of past seasons,” junior Tia Jimerson said. “To come in and finally beat them and dominate, it just felt really good.”
Jimerson was one of the leaders in the Bobcats’ seventh sweep of the season with eight kills and a .412 hitting percentage as well as six blocks.
Ohio needed this win to avoid dropping to 4-4 in MAC play and to keep themselves relevant in the MAC East after a tough loss to Ball State the night before.
“I’m proud of our upperclassmen leading that,” Webb said, “Tia, getting a lot of blocks, Macy (Reihing), flying around making plays. Mere was really good in the back row tonight. To me, that’s what I’m most proud of tonight.”
The underclassmen also showed up for Ohio, including freshman Ciara Livingway, who had a service ace and eight digs.
The Bobcats are now in good position in the conference after playing the first half of the MAC schedule. Ohio is tied for third in the East Division and could move up to second after Miami’s match against Central Michigan.
The Bobcats will go on the road for four straight games, first against Western Michigan and Northern Illinois next weekend.