Ohio seniors held bouquets in their hands as they stood on The Convo floor with their families Saturday afternoon. The lights cascaded over them as the realization that they would never play a home match in an Ohio jersey again settled in. Heavy emotions surged through the athletes before the match even began.
The Bobcats (11-17, 11-6 Mid-American Conference) used the emotions from before to power themselves through five grueling sets. They claimed set one against the Falcons (19-8, 15-2 MAC) and instantly knew that they had an opportunity to win the match. The Bobcats dug in their heels and took the defending MAC Champions to five sets before pulling out the victory.
Here are the numbers to know from Ohio’s 3-2 win over Bowling Green:
Ohio handed Bowling Green its second loss in the MAC on Saturday. Bowling Green’s only other conference loss came against Ball State on Oct. 29.
Tria McLean has been an integral part of Ohio’s game plan this season. Since coach Geoff Carlston reverted back to a single setter model, McLean has stepped into her own. She was named the MAC East Setter of the Week three times this season and continues to impress in each match. On Saturday, she collected a career-high 56 assists. Without McLean, Ohio would not see as much success as it does.
Saturday’s win snapped a six-year losing streak for the Bobcats. They had not defeated the Falcons since their 3-0 win at the Stroh Center in 2015. The Bobcats are now 12-5 against the Falcons since 2010.
Middle blocker Caitlin O’Farrell reached a season-high 15 kills against the Falcons. O’Farrell consistently reaches double-digit kills, and has recorded 10 or more kills in 13 matches this season. The junior boasts a strong arm and height that helps her plant the ball over the net.
Bowling Green made Ohio’s defense work for the win. Ohio recorded a season-high 97 digs in five sets. Sam Steele led the team with 30, Olivia Margolies followed with 20 and McLean rounded out the top three with 17. Margolies’s dig total was also her career-high.
The Bobcats are losing six players on their roster after this season. They will be losing the likes of Maggie Nedoma, Ila Angermeier, Virginia Natale, Dahlias Bouyer, Ashton Webb and Emily Walsh. Webb, a junior, is graduating early this fall. Nedoma was the only one to start the match, but all six graduating players received time in the match Saturday.