In the final match of the 2023 edition of the Bobcat Invitational, Ohio (4-2, 0-0 Mid-American Conference) will take on William & Mary (5-2, 0-0 Colonel Athletic Association). Between the teams, there is no history as this will be the first meeting.
Records are accurate as of 9/6
Date and time: Saturday, Sept. 9 at 2 p.m.
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William & Mary Scouting Report:
William & Mary has struggled to produce seasons with more than 10 wins. Last season, William & Mary won more matches (12) than it had in any season since 2012. William & Mary has failed to make the NCAA Tournament since 2001.
Still, last season was a step in the right direction for the Tribe. The 12-win season came as something of a surprise given the fact that they had picked up a total of 15 wins over the previous three seasons combined. Head coach Ryan Adams was tabbed as the tenth head coach for the Tribe in the offseason, and he has demonstrated an ability to rebuild mid-major programs. He arrived by way of Lafayette College, a program in which he also achieved success.
The brighter outlook of the program is also seen with it projected to finish toward the middle of the Colonel Athletic Association instead of toward the bottom. In addition to being voted higher than in years past, William & Mary has gotten off to a very good start this season. William & Mary began the season winning two of its four Mountaineer classic matches before it swept its way through the Bucknell Invitational the weekend prior to coming to Athens.
The Tribe’s numbers at first glance are somewhat underwhelming. However, one thing it does well is minimize attempts by its opponents. This creates a lower hitting percentage and gives the Tribe’s opponent fewer attempts to score points. Additionally, the Tribe has a very good service attack. It has 48 service aces while committing 55 service errors. While the team doesn't have any defensive stats that indicate anything abnormal, the Tribe reduces its reception errors to force its opponents to beat them.
Player to watch: Olivia Esposito
Esposito has quickly become one of the best players for William & Mary in her first two years on the team. In the Bucknell Invitational, she was named to the all-tournament team, an honor that led to her winning Co-CAA Defensive Player of the Week. Esposito is second on the team with 48 kills while leading the team in hitting at .442. She already has more points this season (66.5) than she did all of last season (58.0). To many degrees, Esposito is the engine that makes the William & Mary machine run.