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Kam Hunt (23) scores a point at the Ohio University vs Eastern Michigan University Senior Day volleyball game, Nov. 4, 2023.

Volleyball: Ohio defeats Central Michigan in back-to-back matches, clinches MAC tournament spot

Ohio (17-12, 12-5 Mid-American Conference) started its weekend series against Central Michigan (14-15, 8-9 Mid-American Conference) on Friday night with a 3-0 victory. The Bobcats won in straight sets Friday night, never letting the Chippewas get comfortable with a ruthless attack led by Caitlin O’Farrell and Anna Kharchynska with 13 and 11 kills respectively.

Ohio won the first set by a score of 25-17, never trailing in this game. It captured an early lead that grew up to a nine-point lead, which it never surrendered, leading to a massive first-set win. The second set brought a stronger fight from the Chippewas, who grabbed an early lead. Ohio fought back tying up a back-and-forth second set with a score of 20-20 late. The Bobcats found a late rhythm that led them to go on a 5-1 run to close out set two (25-21) and take a 2-0 lead over the Chippewas. Friday’s action concluded in set three with another Ohio victory by a score of 25-21. The Bobcats had a very effective team attack while turning good defense into better offense. Sam Steele had 10 digs for Ohio which led to good scoring opportunities for Ohio throughout the night.

The passing aspect was not lost along the way as well as the final point was earned on a pass from szenior Tria McLean, who had a total of 24 assists on the night to lead the Bobcats to victory. This victory also meant the Bobcats punched their ticket into the Mid-American Conference Tournament.

Saturday started looking like it would be more of the same from Ohio as the team came out strong again against Central Michigan, taking the first set by a score of 25-18. The early stages were a back-and-forth battle again, but the Bobcats found a groove that led them to take a seven-point lead over the Chippewas. Central Michigan tried to mount a rally, but Ohio held on closing out this set with a service ace by outside hitter Kam Hunt. The second set continued the momentum that Ohio had brought to life through its play, not only in the first set but through Friday’s action. The Bobcats were led by Kharchynska and Hunt, who had five and four kills respectively. Like set 1, Ohio had trouble building a lead before extending it to 5 points late in the set and finishing with a 25-19 victory.

Heading into the third set, the Bobcats were looking for a sweep on the day but for the whole weekend, with a dominating close-out set against the Chippewas. Ohio got off to a hot start, seizing an early 8-2 lead with a strong effort from the team up front grabbing a barrage of kills. The Bobcats continued their stellar run with a consistent lead of 5 or more points down the stretch. Caroline Clippard added numerous kills, adding to her total of 12 on the night only behind fellow Bobcat Kharchynska with 13. McLean once again led Ohio in the assist department with 35, dispersing it to multiple teammates to help bring home the win with a score of 25-15.

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