Volleyball at Ohio University

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MatchPointOhio celebrates the Ohio University women's volleyball team. Over the past decade, the Bobcats have been one of the most successful and competitive teams in the nation. Some of the accolades that the team has earned include: - Six MAC regular-season titles - Seven MAC Tournament titles - Eight consecutive trips to the NCAA Championship, tied for the MAC record. - 29-10 (.744) postseason record, including MAC and NCAA Tournaments - NCAA Regional Semifinalist in 2005, qualified for Second Round four times.

MatchPointOhio is run by two Bobcat fans, John Thorndike and Cricket Jones.

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The MPO Blog

New Players Video

August 26th, 2015 by John Thorndike

Here’s the first video of the season, with footage from a team practice at the Convo, and from the Green & White Scrimmage at the Athens Community Center. Great turnout at the Athens gym. I was focused on the six new players on this year’s team, so the video is not much of a report on the team itself.

Never fear, Cricket and I are headed for Purdue this coming weekend, and sometime next week I’ll have a video with highlights from that tournament, at which we play Austin Peay, Virginia Christian, and Purdue.

Green and White Scrimmage 2015

August 23rd, 2015 by Cricket Jones

Here are photos from the Green and White scrimmage. This is my pre-season photo shoot.

All shots are blurry and colors and lighting way off:  I just call it soft focus  vball Art Pics (haha).

This group focused mainly on the new freshmen players…a names and number list to be posted soon.

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https://picasaweb.google.com/matchpointohio/GreenAndWhite2015?authuser=0&feat=directlink

Here are the new players for 2015:

#1 Stephanie Olman

#9 Erica Walker

#10 Carley Remmers

#11 Simone Miller

#12 Natalie Burchesky

#16 Kat Bloch

At the Start of Every Season

August 19th, 2015 by John Thorndike

IMG_4616 (1)

Every year at the start of the season I repost the first blog entry I ever wrote for MatchPointOhio. We’re going back almost a decade now, but my feelings about the sport, and the ball, haven’t changed at all, save to intensify.

Hey—see you at the Athens Community Center on Saturday at three. It was a great scrimmage last year, and promises to be at least as good this year. We have six new players, for a full roster of sixteen. The players are working hard: Cricket and I went to Monday’s practice, and I couldn’t believe how many crunches they were doing in between passes, sets and hits. If Coach Webb sent me over to the sidelines to get me in shape like that, they’d be using me as a mop to clean the floor.

And now the time-honored post: The Feel of the Ball:

The way it fits between your hands, the texture of it, the faint give under pressure, the perfect balance with which it rises into the air after you set it. For pure sensuous pleasure—at least the kind of pleasure we’re going to be talking about on this blog—there is nothing like the feel of a volleyball.

This is what drew me to the sport years ago: how right the ball felt. And that first one was a mangy old street ball in New York’s Washington Square Park. Later, in a gym in Yellow Springs, Ohio, I got hold of my first Tachikara SV5W. Now there’s a ball. When I die, that’s the one you can lace my fingers around as you slip me into the earth. The OU team, I have to admit, plays mainly with Moltens these days, which along with Badens have been horning in on the market once dominated by Tachikara. No matter, when it comes to my ultimate rest, make it the SV5W.

Other sports offer utilitarian, sometimes curious balls:

–The Little League baseball I played with when I was ten. I admit that it’s a handsome little nugget of a ball, with its infinite stitching pattern—but it’s nothing to cozy up with. Designed for violent contact with oak or hickory, it’s best handled with a glove.

–The big pebbled basketball I played with for hours at a time when I was a kid, shooting on a hoop my father nailed to the back of our house. The surface is foreign, the texture reminiscent of the factory it was made in.

–The soccer ball, rugged and impervious, and clearly designed not to be touched. Penalty if you do.

–That jive pellet the lacrosse ball, heavy and smooth. It feels like some kind of ammo.

–I admit to the football’s aerodynamic superiority. But it’s another of those industrial balls, faintly pebbled.

–The ping pong ball, tiny, smooth and brittle—and its dense second cousin, the golf ball. We buy them by the dozen, then squash them underfoot or lose them in the rough.

–The racquetball, similar to the pink spaldeen kids used to play with on the streets of New York, perhaps still do. Bouncy and utilitarian.

–The squash ball, with its two-inch bounce before you warm it up.

–The tennis ball. I love the sport so I’m fond of the ball—but after a couple of sets bring out some new ones, the first are already worn out.

Only a volleyball fits the hand so well, and has a perfect, smooth, animal texture. Of course, this is written by a setter, someone who thinks the key moment in each point is the tenth of a second when the ball enters the setter’s hands and flies out redirected. It’s all in service to the hitter, and we’d be nowhere without the vital pass and the crushing spike. But to me it’s still the ball, and the feel of the ball, that defines the game.

I admit, here at the start, to a river of bias on every topic. But that’s what makes this a blog post instead of a news report.

Dynamic Tournament at Indy Academy

April 23rd, 2015 by John Thorndike

Four matches of two sets apiece, against

Ohio State
Illinois
Indiana State
Butler

Good teams, great volleyball, a big intense venue with eight games going on simultaneously, calls and whistles—it was a blast.

Now MatchPointOhio will tend its garden for a while, and see you again in August.

And This Year’s First Video

April 18th, 2015 by John Thorndike

Here are the news and views from Ohio Volleyball’s home spring tournament:

 

Final Video of the Year

December 17th, 2014 by John Thorndike

Here’s the final team video for the 2014 season.

We’re still getting over the shock, but there is much to be glad of here.

The Post I Couldn’t Write

December 9th, 2014 by John Thorndike

crowd WMU match

Cricket and I were both catatonic after the loss to Western Michigan. The next day I took off on a Thanksgiving trip to visit my brother in Vermont, there were other disasters (most notably, the loss to Dayton)—-and what does one do in the face of such heartache? Life does go on. We cooked and ate. We cleared some trails in the Vermont woods with ten inches of new snow on the ground, we loaded up the basement with firewood. Or as Coach Webb said in his Weekly Presser, “For me, I’ll be in a deer stand in about three hours.”

But in over a decade of rooting for the OU team, I can’t remember a harder loss. Then again, every year’s team seems to me like the greatest ever (whether it’s true or not, I fully expect to feel this way again next fall), and perhaps my memory is selective.

No. It was the worst, the absolute worst.

On the night of the Western match, the atmosphere in the Convo was electric. We walked in early, the Ohio and Western players were warming up, plenty of devoted fans were already there, along with a few students. Katie Post’s father and grandparents were there, and Paul Cadamagnani sitting in the front row, and coach Joyce King from the Club team of the old days, and dozens of other fans and parents. The dozens became hundreds, then a couple of thousand. Jim Schauss was there, the Athletic Director. President McDavis and his wife were there. Out on the floor, the players were passing and passing. Passing is the bedrock of a volleyball match, and the team looked intent and confident. Because we were the #1 seeded team, we’d had a double bye and didn’t play our first match until Sunday afternoon. I wasn’t fond of that, and worried that the other teams might be more in the groove.

Didn’t seem like it, as we dusted Western Michigan in the first two sets. But they came back for the next two, we went into the fifth set, we had them 12-7 with victory three points away. But Western rose up, we fell down, and we bowed out 16-14.

Yes, it was the manner of it, that terrible final set. And five days later another fifth set, against Dayton. And that, too, we lost. You know all this. I just have to write it down as if convincing myself, still, that our 16-0 season in the MAC didn’t lead to a bid from the NCAA.

Coulda woulda mighta shoulda. But here we are, players, coaches, parents and fans. Hey, two of my best friends died of cancer in the last couple of years. People are getting choked and shot by the police in New York and Cleveland. Two hundred thousand people have been killed in Syria. Many people have bigger problems than a couple of volleyball losses—-yet for a time, it was hard to think of much else.

Now, with a tiny bit of perspective: What a fabulous season we had, right up until the end. The end just came a little sooner than we’d hoped.