It’s do or die time for Ohio as it enters the Mid-American Conference Tournament, where a loss will send it home.
No. 3 Ohio’s (11-18, 11-7 MAC) first-round matchup will be against No. 6 Northern Illinois (16-12, 10-8 MAC). The Bobcats will travel to Muncie, Indiana, where they will start in the quarterfinals. Northern Illinois is red-hot and sneaked into the MAC Tournament with a five-match winning streak to close out the year.
Ohio, meanwhile, has cooled off a touch since it went on a four-match winning streak starting in late October. The Bobcats have lost two of their last three matches, including a loss to Kent State Wednesday night.
Opponent: Northern Illinois
Venue: Worthen Arena
Location: Muncie, Indiana
Time: Nov. 21 at 7 p.m.
Ohio is 9-8 against Northern Illinois since 2010. Ohio has won the last three matches played between the two, including one this season in DeKalb, Illinois that it won 3-0. Ohio is looking for its first win in the MAC Tournament since 2019. Northern Illinois is looking for its first win in the MAC Tournament since 2016 when they won the conference title.
Players to watch
Northern Illinois: Katie Jablonski
Jablonski ranks in the top 10 of both kills and points in the MAC. The Bobcats managed to keep Jablonski in check in the previous matchup on Oct. 30, as she had just three kills on 22 total attempts.
Ohio: Sam Steele
Ohio’s libero and defensive specialist ranks second in the MAC in average digs per set. She was named to the MAC All-Freshman Team last season. Steele leads the way for the Bobcats in service aces as well with 23.