ATHENS - In a match-up of the two teams tied for first place in the Mid-American Conference, Ohio defeated Bowling Green in three sets Saturday night, 25-18, 25-21, 25-21. Ohio improves to 11-1 in the MAC and BGSU falls to 10-2, still a game ahead of Western Michigan in third.
"We knew what was on the line coming into this match and that Ohio would be a tough team to beat," BGSU Head Coach Danijela Tomic said. "We needed all of our players to play up to their potential in order to win. Obviously, that didn't happen and the better team won tonight."
Ohio's .254 attack percentage was the highest for a Bowling Green opponent in MAC play this year as the Bobcats hit at least .200 in every set and had 12 more kills than the Falcons. The Bobcats also had 12 more digs and three more aces than the Falcons, easily enough to overcome BGSU's strong defensive play at the net with 7.0 blocks.
Danielle Tonyan led Bowling Green with 13 kills and a .343 attack percentage, but the Falcons were held to a .156 swing percentage on the evening. Paige Penrod had 10 kills and Kaitlyn Skinner added five blocks, but the Falcons were battling from behind for most of the match and were never able to find rhythm for an entire set.
Ohio set the tone early by scoring six of the first seven points of the match on three kills and two aces. The Falcons never got closer than four points the rest of the frame as the Bobcats pulled away late for the 25-18 win.
The second set was tight in the early stages and Ohio clung to a 12-11 lead before scoring seven consecutive points on five kills and two Bowling Green errors. The Falcons got back to within three by scoring five in a row, but the Bobcats closed out the set to take a commanding lead.
Bowling Green led by as many as three point early in the third, but the Falcons led by only one at 17-16. Ohio scored four straight on kills from four different players and BGSU never got the score tied again. A Penrod kill, followed by an Ohio error made it 21-20, but the Bobcats scored the next three points and closed out the match.
"We will get back in the gym on Monday and continue working on things that we need to improve," Tomic said. "We still have four more matches to play and then the MAC Tournament. We will learn from this loss and bounce back."
BGSU will complete its home slate during the upcoming weekend as the Falcons host Buffalo for Parent's Night Friday at 7 p.m. The team will then host Akron for Senior Night Saturday at 5 p.m.