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Ohio University middle blocker Caitlin O'Farrell (12) spikes the ball against Akron at the Convo on Oct. 22, 2021.

Volleyball: Ohio kicks off nonconference season in Lexington

The Ohio Volleyball regular season has finally arrived and the Bobcats will have no time to ease in to the season. The first two games of Ohio's schedule begin a gauntlet of a nonconference schedule which mirrors the challenging nonconference schedule it had last season.

The 2021 season saw the Bobcats get off to an abysmal start, which included zero nonconference wins. The Bobcats recovered, however, and played well enough in conference play to make the Mid-American Conference Tournament where they would go on to lose in the semifinals. The late season resurgence, along with the return of several key 2021 contributors has generated optimism for the 2022 season.

The MAC coaches picked the Bobcats to finish second in the east division. The Bobcats will be tested immediately in the 2022 season, taking on Marquette and Kentucky on back-to-back nights.

Match 1

Date: Aug. 27

Opponent: Marquette

Time: 4 p.m.

How to watch: ESPN+

Ohio's first opponent also has lofty expectations. The Golden Eagles are coming off of a successful season in 2021 where they made the NCAA Tournament and finished second in the Big East. Marquette received two first place votes in the Big East preseason coaches poll. Overall, Marquette was picked to finish second in the Big East.

Player to Watch: Carsen Murray

Murray made the All-Big East preseason team for the 2022-23 season because of her breakout performance in 2021. Murray's 169 kills last season ranked fifth most on the team, but what she is mainly known for is her defense, where her 95 blocks ranked second on the team. Murray also earned Defensive Player of the Week in the Big East in October.

Match 2

Date: Aug. 28

Opponent: Kentucky

Time: 4 p.m.

How to watch: SEC Network

The Bobcats will take on the 11th ranked Wildcats in their second game of the season, which will surely be one of their toughest tests this year. The Wildcats are the defending SEC Champions and won 25 games in 2021, before losing in the second round of the NCAA Tournament. Kentucky's expectations are high in 2022 as they were picked to finish first in the SEC preseason poll. The Wildcats also led the conference with four preseason All-SEC players.

Player to watch: Azhani Tealer

There are several highly talented Wildcats, but the one that stands above the rest is Tealer. She had the Wildcats highest hitting % and her 271 kills were third most on the team. Tealer also excelled defensively in 2021 for the Wildcats, with three different SEC Defensive Player of the Week awards. Teller was an honorable mention All-American in 2021, and in the 2020 season she was named to the All-America second team.


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