Ohio (7-5, 1-0 Mid-American Conference) had one of its best games of the year against Miami in its first conference game of the season. Ohio won all three sets, and the first and third sets weren't particularly close. Ohio's win against Miami is its third straight, going back to last season when Ohio won both matches.
The Bobcats brought their A-game right from the start, as they jumped out to a 6-2 lead to start set one. Although the RedHawks kept battling, the Bobcats were able to stretch their lead with an offensive contribution from Elizabeth Hoerlein. Kristy Frank capped the Bobcats dominant set one performance with her fourth kill of the set to give them a 25-15 win.
The Bobcats looked like they might cruise to another easy set win after taking a 9-6 lead early in set two. However, the RedHawks didn't give and after four straight points, they gained their first lead of the night. The RedHawks continued to build their lead, and the Bobcats were on the ropes down 18-14. But the Bobcats rose to the occasion after facing the only adversity they faced all night. Tria McLean and Hoerlein made for an unexpected, yet dynamic offensive duo and helped the Bobcats take back the lead. After one of Hoerlein's kills brought up set point, a RedHawk service error meant the Bobcats completed the comeback in set two.
Ohio head coach Geoff Carlston talked about the importance of completing that comeback.
"I was really proud of our team in the second set, I wasn't proud of how we let down," Carlston said. "But responding from sort of a lull is something we're working on ... so I was glad we were able to right that ship."
The Bobcats' performance in the third set was their best of the night, as they scored eight of the first nine points. Although the RedHawks kept fighting, the closest they got to the Bobcats lead was five points. Olivia Margolies and Caitlin O'Farrell's offensive contributions helped the Bobcats punctuate their dominant victory. O'Farrell scored the match-winning point to give the Bobcats a 25-12 win in set three and a clean sweep of the Red Hawks.
Olivia Margolies led the Bobcats in kills with 11, while Hoerlein had an extremely efficient performance with nine kills. Sam Steele was reliable as always with 16 digs, including an incredible save in the first set on a point that the Bobcats ended up winning.
Carlston was impressed with Hoerlein's performance, but wasn't too surprised.
"She really had a great week of practice, so I'm glad to see it transfer into the game. She was just a different being this week," Carlston said.
Frank had a lot of fun in her first game in the Mid-American Conference.
"Oh, it was awesome, great start ... I loved the energy. Everyone was just out there playing their best and it was awesome to beat Miami and win our opening conference game," Frank said.
The Bobcats will try to complete their second straight sweep of the RedHawks in the rematch at The Convo on Saturday.