Falling before flying is the name of the game with the Ohio Bobcats, who defeated Buffalo 3-0 (25-15, 25-21, 25-23) in The Convo on Thursday night. The match was a nail biter as each team battled back and forth, answering each other with every volley.
Set one was dominated by the Bobcats. They got off to a quick start scoring 4 points within the first few minutes of the set. The Bulls tried to keep up with the intensity of the Ohio offense, but could not answer the immediate returns. Blending tempos was helpful for the offense as well, as Maggie Nedoma and Lauren Park sent several light returns over for points. In the end of the match, Ohio was up on the Bulls. Vera Giacomazzi shut the door on the match, ending with two service aces in row.
Buffalo began the second set with a service error, but soon found their groove after defensive and offensive miscues by the Bobcats. Quickly, the Bulls tied up the set by overpowering the diminishing Bobcats defense. Buffalo led most of the set, but the Bobcats came back in after Nedoma hammered the ball over the net. Park followed up with a smack of her own, giving Ohio the edge they needed to win the second set.
The third set showcased Ohio’s nerves and Buffalo’s ability to take that and spin it into positive energy for themselves. The Bulls started the set with a kill and soon grew their lead to 7-1 after Ohio’s mistakes. Buffalo took the lead and ran with it, running the score up to 14-8. The Bobcats gained composure and a comeback halfway through the set, edging themselves up to a three-point deficit at 20-17. Things began to play in the Bobcats’ favor after a challenged call ruled their way.
The final volley of the match encompassed the entire theme of the night, Ohio and Buffalo going back and forth in an intense defensive setting with Ohio eventually coming out on top. Ohio did not play their best match but kept plugging away in the moments they were down.
“We showed a great deal of maturity, experience and competitiveness to get out of those holes,” coach Deane Webb said.
The highlight of the error filled match was the team meeting their goal of hitting .250 for the night. Leading the pack was Park and Mariana Rodrigues with big kills coming from each in key moments. Also on the offense was Caitlin O’Farrell who had a large role in the comeback during the third set. Defensively, Steele was all over the court. She covered ground to get to loose balls and kept several plays alive.
“I would say it was certainly a streaky match,” said Webb.
Looking ahead to Friday’s match, the Bobcats are aiming to be more balanced in distributing the ball across the court and making the right choices when they do get the ball. The win was well earned, but the Bobcats are always looking to grow on their success.