Ohio (4-4) never had its best in its four-set loss against North Carolina State (7-1). The Bobcats had strong moments from Caitlin O'Farrell and even showed flashes of their skill in the third set, but for most of the match, the Wolfpack was in control.
Ohio fell 3-0 in the first set of the match but quickly recovered to tie the set at four. Anna Kharchynska had a block assist and a kill in a span of three plays, which contributed to Ohio tying the set at 13. However, three straight Ohio errors fueled a 4-0 scoring run for NC State. The Bobcats kept fighting toward the end of set one, and a Maci Watrous serving ace even put the Bobcats up 22-21. Unfortunately for Ohio, Freshman outside-hitter Torre Kildow had an untimely attacking error, and Madison Rice cemented a 25-23 set-one victory for NC State with a kill.
Once again the Bobcats struggled early in a set, but this time they struggled to recover. The Wolfpack scored the set's first three points and never relinquished the lead. The Wolfpack scored 20 points in the set before the Bobcats scored 10. Eventually, the Bobcats trimmed the deficit to eight, but the Wolfpack won the set 25-15.
Ohio carried one of its first leads of the night in set 3. The Bobcats used four straight kills from Caitlin O'Farrell to build a five-point lead. Ohio's lead was erased with a 10-4 scoring run, but even with the end closely in sight, Ohio continued to battle. Caroline Clippard made an impact with a block assist and multiple kills in a short span. After retaking the lead in set three, Kildow made a set-clinching service ace to put the Bobcats on top 25-23.
Ohio Coach Geoff Carlston knows how important O'Farrell is on and off the court.
"I'm super proud of Caitlin," said Carlston. "...She's absolutely one of our leaders, not just on the court, but also as a voice and how she goes about things too, which is cool."
Despite not doing their best, the Bobcats were playing with serious energy to start set four and even took a 5-2 lead. However, as they had done all night, the Wolfpack responded if the Bobcats tried to find a rhythm. The Wolfpack stormed back to take a 9-7 lead in set 4, capitalizing on multiple Bobcat errors. The Bobcats regained the lead after another string of kills from O'Farrell. Down 14-12, the Wolfpack went on a 7-1 scoring run to build a significant lead late into a crucial fourth set. Ohio looked to give itself a chance with three of the next four points, but it continued to commit errors and NC State grabbed a late 23-18 lead. Jada Allen and Clara Vondran cemented the Wolfpack win with a block of O'Farrell.
With the loss, the Bobcats moved to 0-2 on the season at home, and Carlston knows the Bobcats will need to play better if they want to pick up a win in the Bobcat Invitational.
"My mentor once told me, 'You're going to have five stinkers, five amazing matches and the rest are going to be somewhere in between,' and that was a stinker," said Carlston. "It's not the last match of the year thankfully, so you know go back to the drawing board and come back tomorrow better"."