Lady Bobcats triumph in tuneup for Tar Heels

Freshman Katie Horton goes for the volley. Her kill percentage of .261 off the bench spurred Ohio to a victory in straight sets (Mark Clavin)

Freshman Katie Horton goes for the volley. Her kill percentage of .261 off the bench spurred Ohio to a victory in straight sets (Photo: Mark Clavin)

It was a tale of 2 different teams going in two different directions as the Cincinnati Bearcats traveled to Athens to take on the Ohio women’s volleyball team. The Bearcats (0-3) have struggled so far in 2013 as they have lost their first 3 contests to Butler, Tennessee and Morehead St. They have been swept in straight sets in all 3 of those games. Opposite them, the Lady Bobcats have gotten off to a hot start this season, beating Bryant, Eastern Michigan and getting a huge win against No. 8 Oregon in the Oregon Classic last weekend.

It was a Friday afternoon game and not a big crowd that gathered into the Convo for this contest, but that wouldn’t stop the Bobcats (4-0) led by head coach Ryan Theis.

The Bobcats got off to a huge start as they took the first set over UC by a lopsided 25-13 score.

The 2nd set was more of the same. The Bearcats kept the scoring close as it was an 8-8 draw to start the set. But the Bobcats got a run with help from Katie Horton who came off the bench with a momentous pair of kills mid-way through the set to open up the Bobcats to a 12-9 advantage.

Horton’s spark off the bench was huge as the Bobcats continued to dominate the 2nd set, closing on a 13-5 run to go up 2-0 on the Bearcats.

The Bearcats, came out energized and put up a fight in the 3rd set, exchanging points toe to toe with the confident OHIO squad. The Bobcats had a hard time putting the Bearcats away as UC rallied runs of 4-1, 3-1, 2-0 and 3-0 to pull within a point of the Bobcats at a 22-21 score. The huge blow came from Abby Gilleland whose electrifying kill put the Bobcats up 24-23 and was followed a few moments later with a point from Mallory Salis to move to Bobcats to 4-0 on the season.

After the game, Theis commented on the fight UC put on his team in the 3rd set.

“We just tried to not get frustrated because that’s what this UC team can do to you. So we calmed down and were able to pull out the set.”

Katie Horton and Alexis Pinson were efficient for the Bobcats with kill percentages of .261 and .294. Captain #7 Meredith Ashy led the Bobcats with 13 digs and Malory Salis added 11 digs of her own. Abby Gilleland added 27 assists.

The Bearcats have now lost every set this season, while Ohio has failed to drop a set.

Before the match, Theis commented on how big it was for his team to get this win over the Bearcats as they welcome in the No. 24 North Carolina Tar Heels tonight in the Convocation Center.

“We definitely wanted to keep the momentum going into tonight. UNC is going to be a tough opponent and a win this afternoon to get ready for them is just what we need,” he said.

“I’m definitely not a fan of the 2 games in 1 day, but we had a very light practice yesterday to preserve out strength for the big matchups coming up today,” he said about today’s schedule. “And now with this win, we have the right mind set to take on UNC and our girls love big games.”

The Lady Bobcats will take on the No. 24 North Carolina Tar Heels (4-0) tonight at the Convo at 7pm.

Free McDonald’s will be served and the first 500 students will receive a free T-Shirt.

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