Ohio Volleyball suffers first conference loss in over 33 games

The Ohio Bobcats’ twelve-game win streak was brought to a shocking halt Saturday night as they visited and were swept by the Northern Illinois Huskies. After a clean sweep of the MAC last year (16-0), Ohio won its first nine conference games this year before its Mid-American Conference dominance was marred by the energy and relentlessness of the Huskies.

Ohio started out the first set with a kill by Karin Bull. The teams then traded points until another kill by Bull gave the Bobcats a 9-7 lead. A short run by the Huskies followed, giving the home team a 12-11 lead before a kill by Shelby Walker tied the game for the Bobcats.

A dogfight ensued, the teams exchanging points until Northern Illinois was able to take a 21-19 lead. After a kill by the Huskies’ Lauren Zielinski, Ohio founds itself facing the threat of a first set loss.

After a short run, the Bobcats fight was not enough. The visitors fell in the first set by a score of 25-21.

The beginning of the second set was identical to that of the first; a back-and-forth, hard-fought contest. Northern Illinois, however, was able to draw out a 14-9 lead after a series of kills and a hitting error by Ohio’s Stephanie Olman.

When the score reached 17-12, Ohio head coach Deanne Webb was forced to call timeout.

The Bobcats, however, were not able to cut into the Huskies’ lead. The home team took the second set by a commanding score of 25-14.

After the intermission, Bull scored the first point of the third set for the Bobcats. The Huskies then reeled off three straight points before a block by Walker, which she followed up with a kill on the next rally, put the Bobcats back on track.

Northern Illinois then executed another long run, which was a prevalent theme in the match. Ohio found itself down 16-9 before Coach Webb signaled for another timeout.

Two consecutive kills by Walker pulled the Bobcats within five, but Northern Illinois’ relentless attack could not be stopped. The Huskies doubled up Ohio, 22-11, before taking the third set 25-12.

The Huskies, although taking 20 fewer swings than the Bobcats, tallied five more kills than their opponent.

T’ara Austin, who had 13 kills in the match, was a force for the home team.

Walker led the Bobcats with 14 kills. Senior Abby Gilleland tallied 25 assists on the night.

The Bobcats, looking to get back on track, will go on the road again next Friday to face Miami.

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