Athens, OH – Senior night for the Ohio Bobcats, 23-6 (13-3 MAC) ended in fairy-tale fashion as they dominated the Akron Zips 8-21 (2-14 MAC), in a three-set sweep. The Bobcats looked sharp all night and embodied the MAC powerhouse that they were predicted to be at the beginning of the season.
After a 4-4 draw to begin the first set, Ohio went on a four-point run, forcing the Zips to call timeout. The Bobcats then stretched their lead to 15-8 before Akron head coach Tom Hanna requested another timeout.
The Zips, however, could not regroup. Consecutive kills by Shelby Walker and Jaime Kosiorek stretched Ohio’s lead to 18-8, and the home team eventually took the first set by a score of 25-15.
A huge back row attack by Kosiorek gave Ohio its first points of the second set. She followed it up with a service ace, giving the Bobcats a two-point lead.
Resembling the first set, Ohio was selective but dynamic in its attack. The potent Ohio offense drew out a 14-6 lead until Hanna call for a timeout.
While Akron began to execute more of an offense following the break, it could still not handle the intensity of the Bobcats’ attack. Ohio rolled to a second set victory, 25-16.
After the intermission, the visitors seemed revitalized. Ohio, although looking a bit sluggish, struggled to handle the Zips’ attack early on.
Although he Bobcats fell behind 6-3 to begin the set, they fought back into the game thanks to the excellent serving of Kosiorek. Ohio tied the game at nine points each before an error gave Akron a slim lead.
Then, Mallory Salis happened.
Salis, an outside hitter, had four straight thunderous kills to give Ohio a 14-12 lead. Akron, unable to contain Salis, called a timeout shortly after.
The teams then traded several points, Ohio fighting for a senior night sweep and Akron trying to gain some momentum in the match.
After a kill by the Bobcats’ Abby Gilleland, Akron called a timeout, the score being 22-19 in Ohio’s favor.
After a couple of kills for the home team, Erica Walker stood at the service line, ready to serve for the match. Akron struggled with the serve and ended the match on a rather anticlimactic error. The Bobcats won with a score of 25-19.
Salis was the most notable of Ohio’s non-seniors. She had 15 kills in the match, leading the team.
Senior Gilleland tallied 38 assists, and senior Meredith Ashy had 23 digs.
A storybook sweep to end the Ohio seniors’ final conference game was quite reflective of their careers in Athens. The seniors won more than 20 games in each of their four seasons while also earning a Mid-American Conference tournament title in 2013 and three straight regular-season conference titles.
With Kent State defeating Buffalo, Ohio is tied with the Golden Flashes atop the MAC East standings. Northern Illinois, however, holds the overall MAC lead.
Conference tournament play will begin in next Thursday, November 19th, at the Convocation Center.