The No. 20 Ohio Bobcats faced the Bowling Green Falcons Saturday night at the Convo, and after numerous momentum and lead shifts throughout the match, it was the ‘Cats who came out victorious winning in three straight sets.
The first set went back and forth, with both teams holding small leads of one and two points. The Bobcats eventually had a 15-12 lead through the first set. After a Falcons timeout, the Bobcats kept the pressure on and extended the lead to 22-16, eventually winning the first set 25-17.
The Bobcats had 14 kills in the first set and only three errors.
The second set was much closer between the two schools. Bowling Green was the team with the early lead, opening up with a 12-9 advantage. After the Bobcats called timeout, the Bobcats rallied and tied the Falcons at 15.
“Well we knew we had to get pressure on them. They really hadn’t made any mistakes,” Ohio head coach Ryan Theis said. “At one point late in the game they had made one error and we had one block and then Kelly ripped off the two aces so finally we were able to crack them a little bit and I think we got them to 15 all.”
The Bobcats faced another deficit late in the second set, as Bowling Green took a 20-17 lead. Theis called another timeout, and once again, it paid off. Ohio clawed their way back to force 23-23, then pulled off two straight points to take a very heated second set.
“The next timeout was more of the same. I told them we’ve got to get pressure on them to get them to crack with service pressure and attacking, mixing in a tip if needed to see if we can get them to make a mistake here or there. In the end they really didn’t,” Theis said. “We had to score 20 points of the 25 to win that one. We had 15 kills, two blocks and three aces. So we really had to score a ton of points and fortunately the two G (Geneva Yee) scored were really big.
The Falcons had 15 kills and only five errors in the set, and they had their highest hitting percentage of the match at .263. Still, it was timely defensive stops and points that Theis credited for the victory.
T”hey’re a really strong hitting team. That’s probably their greatest skill – attacking. And normally you’re just trying to slow balls down. If you get the block that’s an added bonus, but you’re just trying to slow it down and give your defenders a chance,” Theis said. “I think we had 13 actual point blocks and they swung 115 times. So that means 110 times we didn’t stop it. But we were able to slow some of those down and get some points when we needed them.”
In the third set, the Bobcats had relative ease. They opened up with a 13-10 lead and never looked back. They finished the set on a 12-5 run to complete the sweep over the Falcons and improve to 14-2 overall and 4-0 in the MAC. Bowling Green fell to 6-9 overall and 3-1 in MAC play.
Although the Falcons were previously unbeaten in conference play, Theis said there was no more satisfaction beating them than any other team.
“It’s a conference race all year. There’s a lot of parity already. I don’t know how many times we’ve gone two weeks and only had one undefeated team in the conference. There’s just a ton of parity right now. It’s an awfully tough lead. We have two weeks and six more regular season weeks to go,” Theis said.
The Bobcats will continue MAC play next Friday when they travel to Kent State to take on the Golden Flashes.