Ohio Volleyball pulls off comeback, tops Xavier in five

ATHENS, OH—After defeating LSU in straight sets earlier in the day, Ohio Volleyball (5-1) pulled off an improbable comeback against Xavier in the second game of their Friday double-header, winning in five sets after dropping the first two (24-26, 19-25, 25-18, 27-25, 15-6).

In front of a large home crowd at the Convocation Center, the Bobcats got out to an early 10-3 lead in the first set against Xavier, thanks to the attack duo of Karin Bull and Abby Gilleland.

However, the Musketeers busted a 12-3 run to silence the Athens crowd and force an Ohio timeout. With the score later tied at 24, Xavier’s Kristen Massa broke the tie with a dominant spike and an attack error by Ohio’s Mallory Salis gave Xavier the opening set win.

The second set was even more dominant by Xavier. Ohio’s Shelby Walker cut the Xavier lead to two midway through the set with a kill, but the Bobcats could not minimize the damage anymore—losing 25-19 to go down 2-0 at the intermission.

Coming out of the half, the two teams fought to a 10-10 draw before Ohio scored three consecutive times to take the lead for good. Down the stretch, Ohio went on a dominating 10-4 run where five different Bobcats tallied kills.

Katie Nelson finished off the set victory for Ohio with one of her six kills to keep the Green and White alive, trailing 2-1.

With Ohio trailing 9-8 in the fourth set, Ali Lake’s kill began a 9-2 run for the Bobcats to put them ahead by six, a deficit Xavier couldn’t withstand until late in the set.

Massa put Xavier in front 25-24, just one point away from a victory, but Ohio once again responded—scoring the final three points to win the set, 27-25 and tying the match at two.

In the fifth and final set, Ohio took an early 4-1 and kept the advantage for the entire set. Xavier took two timeouts down the stretch but couldn’t stop the Bobcat attack that ended the game on an 8-0 run to win the set and the match by a 3-2 mark.

Xavier was led by Massa, who led the team with 17 kills. Defensively, Meredith Klare tallied a team-high 23 digs.

Abbey Bessler also turned in a good game for the Musketeers, posting a double-double with 14 kills and 22 digs.

Ohio had three members with double digit kills (Bull, 11, Walker, 15, and Jaime Kosiorek 20). Kosiorek posted her second double-double of the young season with 14 digs to go along with her team-high 20 digs.

Senior libero Merdith Ashy had the best game of her career on Friday—setting a school-record with 43 digs.

Ohio will now try to finish off the Bobcat Invitational with a perfect 3-0 mark when they take on the Michigan Wolverines today at 1:00 pm at the Convocation Center.

@scdermer4

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