Conference play began for the Ohio Bobcats on Friday night against a young Bowling Green Falcon team (4-9) that entered the match not having won on the road this season. Their task was daunting as they traveled to the Convocation Center to play an Ohio team that was and now remains undefeated at their home venue this season after a sweep victory (25-21, 25-13, 25-19).
The Bobcats started the first set uncharacteristically sluggish and struggled to communicate on defense. BGSU surged out against highly-favored Ohio, claiming a 14-6 lead before Ohio volleyball head coach Deane Webb was forced to call a timeout.
Out of the timeout, a rejuvenated Ohio team fought back and tied the game off of consecutive Abby Gilleland tips after trailing 14-16. A dogfight ensued, the foes traded points until the Bobcats led, 21-20, when BGSU head coach Danijela Tomic signaled for a timeout.
The first set concluded off of a net violation from BGSU after four serves from Ohio’s Ali Lake and Ohio earned a hard-fought 25-21 set-victory. Mallory Salis tallied eight kills in the set for the Green and White.
Striking first in the second set, Ohio looked much more focused than during the beginning of the match. Gilleland served three points before a service error, which gave Bowling Green its first points of the set.
Later, a thunderous back-row-attack from Jaime Kosiorek gave Ohio an 8-4 lead. After a net violation on BGSU and another kill from Kosiorek, the Bobcats led 10-5, forcing the Falcons into another timeout.
The teams exchanged several points after the timeout, which lead to a 13-8 Ohio lead.
After that, however, Ohio asserted itself as the better team. Reeling off an 11-5 run, the Bobcats led 23-13. A kill from middle-blocker Karin Bull finished the set by a 25-13 final count.
After the intermission, BGSU earned the first point of the third set. The Bobcats, however, then blitzed the young Falcons for six points before the visitors called for a timeout. During the six-point run, a hustle play that involved Gilleland crashing into the scorer’s table sparked a massive energy in the crowd.
Ohio used this energy and proved too powerful for Bowling Green, both in their service and their offense. The experienced and confident Bobcats earned their first MAC victory of the year with a sweep of a pesky BGSU team.
A high point for the Falcons, however, was their freshman libero, Kallie Seimet, who accumulated a match-high 18 digs during the first conference game of her career. BGSU setter Katie Scholten tallied 25 assists and outside hitter Jelena Sunjic had 11 kills.
Leading the Bobcats in kills and digs were Salis and Erica Walker, respectively. Gilleland had 31 assists.