The Ohio Bobcats were sent home in the semifinals of the MAC Tournament on Sunday in The Convo in a stunning upset by No. 5-seeded Western Michigan in five sets (22-25, 19-25, 25-23,25-23, 16-14).
Ohio looked like it was heading to its 17th consecutive MAC victory, taking an early 2-0 set lead. In set No. 1, Ohio went on runs of 7-0 and 5-2 to erase an early deficit, eventually winning the set 25-22.
Set No. 2 was more of the same for the Bobcats, taking an early 7-2 lead. Ohio would push its lead to as much as nine before winning the set 25-19, taking a 2-0 advantage into intermission.
Ohio was unable to put away the stingy Broncos, losing the third and fourth set by the same two-point margin (25-23).
In the final set of the match, Ohio (23-5) jumped out to an early 8-6 lead, but could not hold on as Western Michigan (21-13) rallied to stun the No.1-seeded Bobcats, 16-14.
In a losing effort, first team All-MAC outside hitter Kelly Lamberti led the team with 21 kills. Three other Bobcats would tally double-digit kills in the defeat (Jaime Kosiorek, Hannah Burkle and Abby Gilleland), with Kosiorek ending the game with 19.
2014 MAC defensive player of the year Meredith Ashy finished with a team-high 35 digs.
For Western Michigan, Sydney LeMay led the team with 17 kills, while Caroline Rose finished with 39 digs.
For Ohio, it was a disappointing end to a season that showed so much potential. This loss was the first Ohio defeat since losing Sept. 5 in its home opener against Texas A&M.
However, Ohio will get a chance to finish their 2014 season on a winning note, traveling to Dayton on Friday in a nonconference matchup with the Dayton Flyers (28-5), who are currently riding a 12-game winning streak and back-to-back wins in the Atlantic 10 Tournament.
“It stinks not being able to give the seniors the MAC win and come away from this tournament with saying it was successful,” Gilleland said. “But there’s still more that we can give them.”