Bobcats Nip Broncos 3-2
KALAMAZOO, Mich. - The Western Michigan volleyball team played a tight match with the team at the top of the Mid-American Conference standings, but the Broncos fell 3-2 (22-25, 25-22, 25-22, 17-25, 8-15) at home to the Ohio Bobcats on Saturday. With the loss, the Broncos fall to 13-10, 6-4 in MAC play.
Alysia Baznik posted her eighth double-double of the season, notching a career-high 18 kills to go along with 13 digs; meanwhile, Rachel Sheffer had her second straight offensively-efficient performance, notching 13 kills on a .258 hitting percentage. Claire Gerwig also added 13 kills, and Ave Stout rounded out the quartet of Broncos with double-digit kills by pumping in 11 and adding five blocks. Lena Oliver had a team-high 24 digs.
The Broncos dropped a tight first set 25-22, but battled back to tie the overall match with a second set win. WMU trailed 11-7 at one point in the second set, but Stout put the Broncos on a 3-0 run that would pull them to within one point of the Bobcats. Ohio extended the lead to 17-13 at one point, but Sheffer notched a kill to make it just 17-16, and an Ohio attack error gave the Broncos the 19-18 lead in the set. Baznik broke a 21-21 tie with a kill, and added a kill on the next point to extend the Broncos' lead to two points. She added one more kill two points later to make it 24-22, and a Bobcat attack error gave the Broncos the set win.
The momentum carried over into the third set as well, with the Broncos taking a lead early and never allowing the Bobcats to pull ahead in the period. The Broncos opened the set on a 6-2 run, with Stout sparking the rally with a kill on the first point and also capping the run with a kill. Ohio pulled to within 9-9 on a blocked shot, though, and the Broncos would not truly take the lead for good until Gerwig ripped a kill to make it 18-17. The lead increased to 19-17 on an ace from Caroline Rose, and Baznik made it a five-point edge with a kill to make it 23-18. Baznik gave the Broncos set point with a kill to make it 24-22, and Pawlik finished it off with a swing and kill take the set.
However, the Bobcats came out firing in the fourth set, jumping out to a 5-1 lead and never looking back en route to the set win. The Broncos pulled to within 12-9 at one point early in the set, but the Bobcats expanded the lead to as many as eight points en route to a 25-17 win. The fifth set was tight early on, but the Broncos got no closer than 8-6 as the Bobcats wrapped on a 5-1 run to take the fifth 15-8.