Herd Volleyball Falls to No. 28 Ohio
HUNTINGTON, W.Va. – The Thundering Herd volleyball team met its match on its home floor for the first time Wednesday night in Mid-American Conference volleyball action, falling to the Ohio Bobcats 3-0, (30-25, 30-24, 30-18) in the Cam Henderson Center.
Ohio, the No. 28 ranked team in the nation improved to 18-2, 10-0 in the MAC. Marshall dropped its third straight and is currently14-9, 5-4 in the MAC. The loss to Ohio was the Herd’s first loss at home this season.
Ohio came out of the gates swinging and pulled out to an early 9-1 advantage in game one. The Herd then rallied to pull even with the Bobcats at 14-14 led by four kills from freshman Stephanie Cahill (Louisville, Ky.) in the rally. The match seesawed back and forth until an Ohio kill by Stephanie Blackburn made it 23-22 Bobcats. Ohio then pulled away and finished off the game on two kills by Blackburn for the 30-25 win in game one.
The Herd had its chances in the opening frame, but didn’t capitalize on Ohio errors and was plagued by errors of its own.
“Bottom line, when they pushed us back in games one and two we didn’t stay tough,” Marshall head coach Mitch Jacobs said. “Ohio is a well coached team and they don’t make very many mistakes, and when they did we did take advantage of it.”
Ohio jumped out to an early 5-2 lead in game two, but once again the Herd fought back and tied it at 6-6. Once again, the game went back and forth like two heavy weights battling it out. Marshall tied it at 14-14 on a kill by freshman Kelly-Anne Billingy (Trincity, Trinidad), but could never get over the hump and take the lead in the game. Ohio led for the rest of game two with the Herd only able to get as close as two points from the Bobcats on the way to intermission.
“They like to get out early, then grind it and push back if you come back on them,” Jacobs said. “If we could have gotten by them in our push it might have been different, but they really grind it. Ohio knows how to start and finish a game and we needed to take advantage of the chances we had and didn’t.”
In game, three Marshall looked refreshed out of the break, building a 5-1 lead, but in the blink of an eye, the Bobcats were back. The Herd held the lead until 8-5, but Ohio then stormed ahead and never looked back to improve on its perfect MAC record. The Bobcats have still only lost seven games on the season in 20 matches.
Perhaps the most telling stat in game three was the comparison of hitting percentages.The Bobcats outhit the Herd .519 to .059 in the final game. For the match, Ohio hit .368 as a team opposed to Marshall’s .184 mark.
Billingy turned in the best performance of the night for the Herd finishing with a match-high 15 kills, a .333 hitting percentage, 12 digs, a block solo and two service aces. Cahill finished the match with 12 kills. Junior Katie Stein (Sussex, Wis.) had 35 assists in the loss.
Blackburn and Melissa Griffin led the Bobcats with 11 and 10 kills, respectively. Briana Adamovsky had a match-best 41 assists.
The Herd returns to action Friday night in the Cam Henderson Center in the second match of a six-match homestand. First serve against the Central Michigan Chippewas is set for 7 p.m.