Saturday, Ohio (15-12, 10-5 Mid-American Conference) played its final home match of the regular season against Eastern Michigan(3-24, 1-14 MAC). The previous night, Ohio swept Eastern Michigan but not without facing adversity, especially in the match’s final set.
Ohio Coach Geoff Carlston was more favorable to this win than the team’s previous bout.
“We played much better and cleaner today,” Carlston said. "I was really proud of how our team stayed focused and locked I just thought we played so much better than yesterday … I’m happy for them and to be able to go out and win at home is pretty cool.”
Ohio looked poised and in control in the opening set, winning 25-19. Ohio’s efficient attacking, especially from Caitlin O’Farrell, rained down kills from the middle and outside, which attributed to the team’s dominance in set 1.
Ohio seemed poised and confident while attacking, not only O’Farrell, but also multiple other Bobcats who put up highlight-reel kills, such as Caroline Clippard who had five kills in the opening set. Despite trailing 18-11 with little momentum on its side, Eastern Michigan stayed in the set with the help from setter Elle McLoughlin. Her run-stopping kill helped bring the Eagles two points closer to the Bobcats. Anna Karchynska would swiftly stop the Eagles' momentum with a thundering kill to help the Bobcats pull away late. O’Farrell and Clippard led the Bobcats with five kills in the first set.
Ohio continued its dominance in the second set as it would prevail 25-13. Tria McLean set the tone early with an ace on the first point of the set. However; this set seemed rather sloppy from both sides as aces were occurring regularly, particularly in the opening half of the set. As the set went on, Eastern Michigan could not find a rhythm at all as it would commit mental errors one after another. Kam Hunt shined in this set with two kills and a mind-boggling six service aces in one set. This heroic effort put the Bobcats in the driver's seat in the set leading 21-10. Everything seemed to go right for Ohio in the latter half of this set with near-perfect play on all sides of the ball. McLean concluded the set with her second kill of the match.
Eastern Michigan seemed out of sorts right out of the gates in the third set, committing a service error to start the third set. The mental mistakes continued for the Eagles as they would commit five service errors in the set. Hunt, O’Farrell, and Karchynshka continued to hurt the Eagles with an onslaught of kills. Hunt added to her kill tally with five kills, and O’Farrell and Kharchynska put up three in the third set. Senior Parker Kwiatkowski helped put Ohio over the edge with strong serving as Ohio would take the final set of the night 25-14.
Carlston spoke highly of his senior class after Ohio’s Senior Day sweep.
“The program, the culture and where we were was (a) little bit broken, part of it was (because of) COVID,” Carlston said. "This group of seniors–and the ones before them frankly, too–the last two groups really bought into what we’re doing … the leadership has been phenomenal and the buy-in has been great, and I’m really proud of how far the program has come in two years, three seasons.”