It’s crazy how much can change in such little time.
Just when it felt like The Bobcats (9-7, 9-7 Mid-American Conference) had what would have been their fourth straight win in sight, Western Michigan snatched it right from them. The Broncos defeated Ohio 3-2 (25-23, 13-25, 13-25, 25-23, 15-6) on Saturday in The Convo. The match was a tough one for the Bobcats, who need every win they can get at this point to make it into the MAC tournament.
When the match began, both teams looked equally matched. Ohio and Western Michigan went point for point at the beginning of set one, making the score 6-6.
Then, things started to take a turn for the worse for Ohio. Western Michigan broke away from the Bobcats, scoring six points uninterrupted. The Broncos even led by as many as eight points in the middle of set one.
However, Ohio would not go down without a fight in the set. The Bobcats made a comeback, getting within two points of The Broncos. Despite Ohio’s efforts, Western Michigan still took set one 25-23.
Things got better before they got worse again. Set two belonged to Ohio. In set two, the Bobcats came out looking strong, earning multiple points in a row. Ohio was able to take a 14-8 lead on the Broncos before winning the set 25-13.
The Bobcats made many impressive stops against Western Michigan’s offense in this set, including a block by Caitlin O’Farrell that had fans shook. When the ball hit O’Farrell’s arms, it was so loud that it could be heard all the way in the stands. The only thing louder than that was the cheers on the court that erupted after the play.
While a new set started shortly thereafter, the Bobcats looked as if they never stopped playing in between sets two and three. They continued making big plays, taking a 9-1 lead on The Broncos in set three. The energy and excitement of the Bobcats was evident, as they propelled their way through the set and won that one 25-13 as well.
Set four seemed as if it would be just as promising as the two before, but that was not the case. The set moved fast, and in the blink of an eye, the Bobcats found themselves down 16-10. Instead of producing a lead of its own, Ohio was trying to get itself out of a hole. It eventually did but not in time. Western Michigan won set four 25-23. The match was all tied up.
Set five is where the Bobcats truly crumbled. Right off the bat, Western Michigan took a 4-0 lead, then later expanding its lead to 8-1. Western Michigan had quite a few service aces and kills in set five that Ohio was unable to return over the net. In the end, Western Michigan took the fifth set and the match.
Freshman Elizabeth Hoerlein made her first collegiate career start in Friday’s loss and earned many points for Ohio’s offense. Hoerlein played in all five sets, attacking at the net as if she has been playing all season.
Mariana Rodrigues and Caitlin O’Farrell both had solid performances on Friday in The Convo. They both earned many points for the Bobcats but not enough to help obtain the win.
Ohio will get a chance try for a win again in The Convo on Tuesday against Kent State at 6 p.m.