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Caitlin O’Farrell(12) spikes the ball at the Ohio University vs. Miami University Volleyball Game in the Convo. in Athens, Ohio on Sept. 24, 2022.

Volleyball: Ohio wins another pair of matches as its early-season success continues

Ohio (4-2, 0-0 Mid-American Conference) took another business trip to participate in a weekend tournament, this time making its way west to Dayton.

The weekend was a rather successful one, as Ohio won two of its three matches albeit squandering an opportunity to go a perfect 3-0 on the weekend with a disappointing loss in the final match. Regardless, Ohio sits at 4-2 after two weeks of play, a highly respectable record considering some of the opponents it has faced thus far. 

Match 1:

Ohio’s first match of the weekend was a razor-close one against Butler (3-3, 0-0 Big East). The teams were incredibly evenly matched to begin the match as the opening set not only went beyond 25 points for both teams but saw the teams score over 30 points in a marathon of a set to open the day. 

Ohio got off to a solid start, taking a 4-2 lead to begin the set. However, Butler responded with a 7-0 run to take an early lead. Butler continued to control the match early but with the score sitting at 14-9, Butler. Ohio went on a run of its own, scoring five straight points to tie the set. The teams traded points until Ohio took the lead by a score of 22-21. Butler would go on another run to vault itself into the lead and set up a set point with the score in its favor, 24-22. Ohio refused to concede the set, forcing the extra points to be played with a 3-0 spurt. 

The teams traded the lead back and forth until the score reached 31 apiece. From there, the Bobcats took the set for good, scoring back-to-back points to put the set away. Although it was happy to pick up the win in the first set, the Bobcats likely made it harder than they had to as some of the statistics appear to show a domination. Ohio outhit Butler 0.19 to 0.131 and had 22 kills compared to Butler’s 16. 

The second set was a much sloppier one for Ohio. Although it started off strong, building an early 4-1 lead, Butler fought its way back to eventually take a 12-11 lead. Ohio tried to battle back, taking the lead back before Butler took over again, this time for good when it went on an 8-0 run to virtually end the set to even the match at one set apiece. 

In that set, Ohio had a paltry hitting rate of 0.053, compared to Butler’s rate of 0.206. Additionally, Ohio had 10 errors in each of the first two sets, although it was able to work past those issues in the first set by simply creating more opportunities. 

Early in the third set, it looked like Butler would continue its strong play as it opened up a 5-1 lead. With the score at 8-4 in favor of Butler, Ohio made its run for the lead, going on a 6-0 run to go up by two. Butler responded with an immediate run of its own to take the lead right back. In the true set of runs, Ohio scored four straight to reclaim the lead. The teams traded points until Butler took a 22-21 lead. Ohio would go on its final run of the set to win the set, 25-22, and take the lead overall in the match. 

The fourth, and eventually the final set, saw Ohio mount a few runs in the middle of the set to emerge victorious. After Butler took a 9-8 lead, Ohio went on a 5-0 run to take a lead it would not relinquish. A 4-0 run that made the lead 17-11 for Ohio pretty much put the set and match to bed as Ohio won the set, 25-18, and the match 3-1. 

Match 2: 

Ohio prepared for two matches on Saturday, the first of which came against North Dakota State (4-2, 0-0 Summit League).

While Ohio took an early 3-1 lead, North Dakota State stormed back to take a 5-3 lead by way of a 4-0 spurt. North Dakota State continued to hold serve, as it eventually extended its lead to 19-10 as it appeared as if it would run away with the first set in dominating fashion. However, Ohio had other ideas. Ohio got some chunks of points back in threes to make it a one-point deficit at 24-23. Unfortunately for Ohio, it could not complete the comeback as North Dakota State took the first set. 

To start the second set, it was as if the ending of the first set carried over for the Bobcats as they sprinted out to a 10-5 advantage. They were looking to refrain from doing what their opponents did in the last set which allowed the set to get close. A subsequent 5-0 run from the Bobcats gave them a double-digit lead. From there, the Bobcats cruised to a set victory, 25-17 to even the match. 

In the second set, Ohio completely staggered North Dakota State. Ohio hit a rather high rate of 0.324 while North Dakota State hit just 0.03. In fact, North Dakota State nearly had as many errors as it did kills (seven kills compared to six errors). 

The final score on the box score might not illustrate just how close the third set was at the beginning, but the teams battled it out as both took large leads and squandered those leads. Ohio took a modest 8-5 advantage before watching North Dakota State go on a 7-0 run that put it ahead, 12-8. Ohio would take the lead back with a 5-0 run and a 13-12 lead. Both teams went back and forth for a little bit before Ohio took control of the set, taking it outright, 25-20. 

In the fourth set, Ohio forced North Dakota State into desperation mode as ever since the first set, it was unable to get any type of consistent attack on Ohio. Ohio got out to a quick 8-5 lead in the final set. North Dakota State clawed its way back into the match, eventually taking the lead at 10-9 and then doing so again with the score sitting at 14-13. The teams traded spurts of points as the match was tied at 19 apiece. Ohio was able to finish off the match with a 6-2 run to win the set 25-21. 

Match 3: 

In its final match of the weekend, Ohio was looking to finish off a perfect weekend with a victory over Dayton (5-1, 0-0 Atlantic 10), the host of the weekend. The two teams entered the match with an identical 4-1 record on the season.

The first set was a battle early on as the teams were engaged in a 6-6 tie. From there, Dayton went on a 3-0 spurt to give it a 9-6 lead. Ohio would respond with a 9-1 run to take a 15-10 lead. Dayton took the deficit in stride as it battled back to eventually take back the lead at 18-17. In the back-and-forth set, Ohio retook the lead late, an advantage that it would not relinquish as it won the first set, 25-21.

The second set was similar to the first as the teams traded points and the lead early with the match tied at 10 apiece. The teams continued to trade points back and forth until Dayton took a 14-13 lead. Ohio would go on to eventually take the lead and would battle its way back into the lead as it took the second set with the same score as the first, 25-21.

Set three was a tough one for the Bobcats as after the Flyers went on to take the lead with a couple of short runs, the Bobcats would never quite be able to find their footing enough to retake the lead, only getting as close as one point behind. However, the odds of winning the match still looked favorable for the Bobcats as it simply needed to grab one more set in order to escape the weekend with a perfect record. The hitting rate of 0.143 during the third set was the lowest for the match as the Bobcats struggled to overcome the sleeping giant in the form of the Flyers that they had just awoken. 

The fourth set was similarly an ugly showing for Ohio. After falling behind 8-4 early, Ohio went on a 3-0 sprint to get back into the set. From there, Dayton scored three straight of its own, and the teams more or less traded points back and forth until it was 18-16, Dayton. The rest of the set was all Dayton as it closed the set and tied the match at two apiece by going on a 7-1 run. 

The fifth set was about as close as possible. The teams had eight lead changes early as every point scored by Dayton was answered by a match-tying one by Ohio. The score was tied at eight when Dayton went on a 4-0 spurt, something not insurmountable under regular circumstances, but in the condensed fifth set, Ohio did not have much time to mount a comeback. In fact, Dayton completed the comeback overall in the match as it won. 

Regardless, Ohio had a very good showing over the weekend. While the result of its final match is disappointing, there are a lot of positives to take from the weekend as a whole. The bottom line is that Ohio has lost twice, each of which has been in five sets, demonstrating an enhanced competitiveness rarely found this early in the season.


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