It was a big ask for Ohio to come out of Toledo unscathed. Toledo is a very good team with a lot to play for, especially in its last two home matches of the season. In addition, Toledo is in a three-way tie for fourth in the Mid-American Conference and knew its chances at MAC Tournament berth would be at risk with two losses against Ohio.
The Bobcats showed resilience when they shook off a sweep Friday and swept the Rockets Saturday. The Bobcats are now third in the MAC, but with their win Saturday, the Bobcats still have hope for a first-place finish.
The Bobcats (17-9, 11-4 MAC) looked ready to compete early in the first match. They took a 13-10 lead in set one after Elizabeth Hoerlein had three kills midway through the set. The Rockets (16-10, 9-6 MAC) didn't stay behind for long. They used an 8-1 run to quickly take a four-point lead. The Bobcats struggled to muster a comeback until the Rockets brought up set point. A couple Toledo errors and an Olivia Margolies service ace helped the Bobcats cut the Rockets' lead to five, but the Rockets eventually won set one 25-19.
Sloppy play from the Bobcats helped the Rockets get out to a fast start in the second set. The Rockets scored the first six points, but the Bobcats kept fighting and tied the set at nine with a scoring run aided by two kills from Kristy Frank. The Rockets went on another massive scoring run midway through set two to take a commanding lead. Back-to-back kills from Frank cut the lead to five, but the Bobcats were stopped in their tracks by another Rockets scoring run. The Rockets won set two 25-17 after an attack error by Frank.
In what was already a poor performance, the Bobcats played their worst set of the night in set three. The Rockets got out to an early lead after five kills from Taylor Alt in the first 11 volleys, and they never looked back. The Rockets ended up winning the third and final set by 14 points. The 25-11 loss in the third set was one of the Bobcats’ biggest losses in MAC play this season.
No Bobcat reached double-digit kills, but Frank led the team with nine kills Friday. Parker Kwiatkowski had a strong performance defensively and led the team will 11 digs.
The Bobcats didn't let the previous days' performance affect them Saturday. They quickly put themselves in the driver's seat with a 12-7 scoring run to start the match. The Rockets cut the Bobcats' lead to three but then committed several errors to end their chances at a win in the first set. The Bobcats solidified their lead and won the first set 25-17 after kills from Caroline Clippard and Caitlin O'Farrell.
The Bobcats didn't slow down in set two. O'Farrell had multiple kills to help the Bobcats take a 10-4 lead in the early stages of the set. The Rockets cut the deficit to four after a kill from Alt, but they were never a threat to the Bobcats' lead. The Bobcats scored four of the next five points and went on to win the set 25-18 after a kill from O'Farrell.
At the very beginning of set three, the Bobcats faced their only real adversity of the night and responded perfectly. After the Rockets claimed a 4-1 lead, the Bobcats won 12 of the next 13 volleys. The monumental scoring run included multiple kills from Margolies and Anna Kharchynska. The Rockets couldn't recover from their blown lead, and an attack error completed the Bobcats’ three-set 25-15 victory.
O'Farrell had a match-high 11 kills, but Margolies wasn't far behind with nine. Sam Steele had 14 digs in the winning effort, and Frank was the only other player to reach double-digit digs with 10.
The Bobcats' weekend wasn't perfect, but they showed the ability to bounce back with their sweep of the Rockets Saturday.