A little taste of home was all the Bobcats needed on Friday night.
The Convo floor was shaking from the cheering fans as Ohio’s scoring run grew in the third set. The elusive first victory was in Ohio’s peripherals, and all it needed to do was keep Toledo from having another chance to serve.
Match point came, and finally it was in the Bobcats’ favor.
“We all got chills, and it was kind of a surreal moment,” Olivia Margolies said.
The 3-0 (25-14, 26-24, 25-19) victory was not only Ohio’s first win of the season, but it was also their first sweep and Mid-American Conference win.
But, there was a little sour before the sweet.
The Bobcats took set one 25-14 and carried that energy into set two. They were able to capitalize on the Rockets’ sloppy play, but it only lasted a few more volleys. The Rockets cleaned up their act and stayed hot on the Bobcats’ trail.
Ohio missed its chance to take the set on a service error by Caitlin O’Farrell. Toledo found itself within one point of Ohio after a service ace by Taylor Alt. It then later tied the set on a bad set by Sam Steele.
What goes around comes around, though. The Bobcats found themselves in familiar territory after reclaiming set point on a giant kill by Caroline Clippard. They then took the set win in the next volley off of a bad set by Rachel Pierce.
“That’s probably the best moment of the match, because we’ve been there before in preseason where we’re just there and we just can’t close it out,” coach Geoff Carlston said. “And for them to close that out was really, really important.”
The Bobcats’ strong sense of self shined through in set three. They were able to recognize when they were losing focus and bring it back even sharper. Fans could see the players fighting to not become complacent within the match as the Bobcats fought to ensure that the victory was theirs.
Ohio’s six-point scoring run made the difference in the third set. It made Toledo scramble each chance it had by using its versatile roster to the fullest extent.
“We’re running a 6-2 offense…with that naturally comes a lot of subbing,” Carlston said. “I don’t run 6-2s very often — I haven’t in my career — but for this team right now, it’s the way to go.”
The 6-2 created defensive space for the Bobcats and manufactured more opportunities for the offense as well. Margolies led the squad with 13 kills and 39 attacks. She also had the most points of the Bobcats, with 13.5.
The Rockets will have a second crack at the Bobcats on Saturday afternoon. The net remains up in The Convo for the 2 p.m. rematch.