Volleyball: Ohio continues MAC dominance with sweep of Northern Illinois

The Ohio Bobcats beat the Northern Illinois Huskies in three straight sets Saturday night to win their 11th game in a row.

With both teams riding heavy winning streaks and sitting atop their respected divisions, there was no doubt of an electric feeling flowing within the walls of The Convo.

NIU jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first set, but that would be the only lead it would hold as the Bobcats went on a lopsided 22-12 run to make the score 22-14. The match point came from Ohio’s Kelly Lamberti and the Green and White secured the first set 25-17.

The Huskies (16-8, 9-1 MAC) didn’t let the sizeable defeat in the first set destroy their intensity, though, as the second set proved to be much more of a battle for Ohio (17-4, 10-0 MAC).

It started out like the previous set with Ohio plunging into the lead 13-6. Bit by bit, though, Northern Illinois served and killed their way to a 20-all tie.

The Bobcats didn’t allow NIU to take the lead – a theme throughout the night – as they went on a 5-2 run to win 25-22 and headed into intermission leading 2-0.

With the teams retaking the court, it was obvious that Ohio had their hearts set on a 3-0 sweep.

That idea of a sweep began to drift as the Huskies jumped out to a 4-1 lead. The Bobcats then played like the MAC East leaders they are and went on a 5-1 run to retake the lead 6-5. Other than two more ties, one at 6-6 and another at 7-7, Ohio never again fell behind. With the score 24-17, NIU shot themselves in the foot by committing an attack error and gave Ohio its third straight set win and the sweep.

“Our mentality was to try our best to slow the game down,” junior captain Meredith Ashy said. “We served aggressively and that’s always been our one biggest thing to do against good teams.”

“Very proud of our team,” Ohio coach Deane Webb said. “That was a really good win against a very good team.”

“We had to work so hard for two weeks at least to not already be looking forward to this match,” Webb said. “So tonight it finally got here and our kids were excited to play against a great opponent.”

Ohio was led by the usuals. Kelly Lamberti finished with 12 kills, and Abby Gilleland had six of her own.

Northern Illinois was led by Mackenzie Roddy with 11 kills and Alexis Gonzalez with 27 assists.

The Bobcats look to improve to 11-0 in the MAC as they face off against Kent State in Kent, Ohio, on Thursday night.

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