Ohio had to play a near perfect match to beat first-place Bowling Green on Friday night, but it wasn’t close to good enough. Instead, the Bobcats fell 3-0 to the Falcons at The Convo in the first contest of a two-match series.
Early in set one, Elizabeth Hoerlein got off to a hot start with two kills in the first four points, one of which gave the Bobcats (10-17, 10-6 Mid-American Conference) their only set lead at any point in the night at 1-0. After a close beginning to the first set, Bowling Green (19-7, 15-1 MAC) used a 6-1 run to take a commanding six-point lead. Just as the Bobcats were trying to mount a comeback in the set, a couple of service errors in just a few points made their job more difficult.
Ohio coach Geoff Carlston cited these errors as one of the key factors for the Bobcats’ loss.
“We missed 13 serves,” Carlston said. “Which every time we sort of felt like we had a little bit of a push, we would make an unforced error.”
The Bobcats didn’t give in easily and dwindled their deficit down to two points late in the first, but the Falcons ultimately won the set 25-22.
It would be more of the same in the second set. The Bobcats fell behind early 8-4 and had to play from behind for most of the set. A strong effort from fifth year Maggie Nedoma in the second led the Bobcats to tie it at 16 after one of her kills.
“(Nedoma) played great tonight,” Carlston said. “She wasn’t playing great early on and kind of fought through which is exactly what you want.”
Although the Bobcats kept it close in set two, Bowling Green pulled away again to win 25-21.
After Bowling Green started with a 6-2 advantage in the third set, it looked like the match was starting to slip away from Ohio. Even after the Bobcats made it a tightly contested set at 20-18, the Falcons would go on a run and take the set by a score of 25-20.
Although the Bobcats were dominated on Friday night, they still have a lot to look forward to. They get a rematch with the Falcons on Saturday afternoon in what will be their final home match of the season. As good as Bowling Green is, Ohio still believes it can pick up a win on senior day.
“I think tomorrow we just need to bring a little more fight,” Nedoma said. “A couple of the missed serves or some of the missed blocks. I think if there was more fight we (would) make those plays.”