Ohio (18-13, 13-5 Mid-American Conference) came up short in the first round of the MAC tournament to Toldeo (14-16, 11-7 MAC), losing 3-1 in a hard-fought match that brought an end to Ohio’s season.
Toledo began the night winning the first set dramatically 25-23. The set saw both teams battle for the lead as there were 10 in total throughout the set. Anna Kharchynska came out swinging for the Bobcats, recording six kills in the first set alone. Nearing the end of the set, the Bobcats held a rather sizable lead at 23-20. However, this lead would not last as due to errors and the heroics of Toledo’s Abby Erickson, Toledo would score the final five points of the set. Erickson had a total of five kills in the set, two of them coming during the five-point run.
The Bobcats would not let that first set bring them down as they would triumph over the next set 25-20. Toledo set the pace early, going on a four-point run to propel it to a 10-6 lead over Ohio. The Bobcats would storm back scoring 16 out of the next 21 points to give it a 23-16 lead. Kharchynska dominated once again in the set, adding seven kills to her total including the kill to give Ohio the win.
In a game of back-and-forths, Toledo would continue that pattern winning the third set 25-18. This set saw Toldeo take an early lead at 6-5 and not give it up for the rest of the set. Taylor Alt would be a catalyst for Toldeo’s success in the set, smashing three kills early in the set to help give Toldeo an early lead. Toledo would also be fueled by a plethora of errors on Ohio’s end; whether it was setting errors or attacking errors, Ohio was undone by its own doing in the third set.
Despite a valiant effort, Ohio would fall in the final set of the match 25-20. This set would see both Ohio and Toledo trade blows for a majority of the set. Ohio went on a four-point run and Toldeo answered back with a three-point run of its own in the set. The set was at one point tied at 16, yet Toledo would go on to score 9 of the final 13 points of the match. Ohio’s Kam Hunt would have an impressive set when Ohio was backed up. The freshman outside hitter tallied five kills in the conclusive set. Alt would lead the Rockets in kills with four during the set. One final kill from Toledo’s Jada Bouyer would put the seal on Ohio’s season in what would be a disappointing end for Ohio.
Although the season ended on a rather sour note for the Bobcats, the season itself was anything but. Many Bobcats had stellar seasons with three earning All-MAC honors. Both Caitlin O’Farrell and Kharchynska earned First Team All-MAC and Hunt notched All-Freshman honors. Senior Sam Steele also notched 494 digs this season, which brought her all-time total up to 1974. With a strong freshman class and returning players with the likes of Kharchynska, Ohio will have much to look forward to next season.