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Ohio’s Maci Watrous #20 digs during Ohio’s match against Kent State in The Convo on Wednesday, Oct. 20, 2021. Ohio won three sets to two.

Volleyball: What to watch for in Ohio’s road trip against Western Michigan and Northern Illinois

Ohio (6-16, 6-5 Mid-American Conference) will travel to take on two MAC West opponents, Western Michigan (14-8, 7-4 MAC) and Northern Illinois (10-11, 4-7 MAC), over the weekend.

Ohio’s first opponent of the road trip, Western Michigan, holds a record of 7-4 in MAC play, good enough to tie for second in the MAC West. However, the Broncos have lost three straight, including two matches against Ball State where they weren’t able to win a set. Meanwhile, Northern Illinois has struggled in MAC play so far. They stand at fourth in the MAC West with a 4-7 conference record. 

Finally, the Bobcats have had a roller coaster of a MAC schedule so far. After a 1-4 start to begin MAC play, Ohio won five straight matches to catapult itself into second place in the MAC East. Although the Bobcats’ winning streak ended after their last match against Akron, their 6-5 record in conference play is still good enough for sole possession of second in their division.

Match Information

Friday (Oct. 29)

Opponent: Western Michigan

Time: 6 p.m.

How to watch: ESPN+

Saturday (Oct. 30)

Opponent: Northern Illinois

Time: 7 p.m. EDT (6 p.m. CDT local)

How to watch: ESPN3

Match History

Western Michigan

The last 10 matchups between Ohio and Western Michigan have been split right down the middle as both teams have won five matches against each other since 2012. Ohio’s road record against Western Michigan is 4-4 since 2004. However, the Bobcats have lost their last two matches played in Kalamazoo, Michigan.

Last year, the Bobcats split the regular season series against the Broncos. But Ohio’s season was ended at the hands of Western Michigan when it lost 3-1 in the MAC tournament semifinals.

Northern Illinois

The series between Ohio and Northern Illinois since 2010 is tied at 8-8. Ohio’s road record against Northern Illinois in that time span is 3-3. For as close as the series has been, the Bobcats have swept the Huskies in six of their last eight wins against them. The Bobcats have never won a game against the Huskies that has gone the full five sets since 2010 as well.

Last year, Ohio didn’t play Northern Illinois until the very end of the season in late March. The Bobcats played two matches against the Huskies and dominated in both, sweeping in back-to-back contests.

Players to watch

Western Michigan: Maggie King

King a junior and ranks third in the MAC in both average kills per set and average points per set. She is also fifth in the MAC for total service aces. King was named to the All-MAC First Team for the 2020-21 season.

Northern Illinois: Grace Balensiefer

Balensiefer currently ranks second in the MAC for average assists per set with 10.86. She was awarded a MAC West Setter of the Week honor in the 2019 season and again in 2020-21.

Ohio: Caroline Clippard

Clippard has led the Bobcats in kills in each of their last four matches. She also ranks eighth in the MAC in average kills per set and ninth in average points per set. Clippard is only a freshman and leads the Bobcats in kills.

@GorbettBobby

bg238320@ohio.edu

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