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.
In the second of our exhibition weekends, the team took on Ohio State, in a match played at the Greater Columbus Convention Center.
For me, good memories from the huge Convention Center floor. I once played in the National Championships there on my New Mexican team, the Dinosaurs. We were outclassed, having slid into the Over 55′s bracket because there was no other team of that age in our district. Outclassed and slammed—but what fun.
So here I am, a decade older, on crutches with a sprained ankle, back under the dramatic lighting, watching the Bobcats go through a good workout with Geoff Carlston’s OSU team. We played well. kelly Lamberti was out for the day with a minor injury. Liis Kullerkaan stepped up, and Karin Bull, and Hannah Burkle, and Chelsea Bilger was a rock. Well, a very mobile rock. OSU took the first set, but we came back to take the next and the next.
We played one more set to 15, OSU took that one, so we split for the day. Scores and victories are not the vital aspect of spring play. Records are kept, but no real stats. The coaches have an eye on the season that starts in August.
Here’s how it looked in Columbus:
And that will be all for photos and videos from MatchPointOhio this spring. I’m attending a writers’ gathering next Saturday, and sad to say, Cricket and I are not making the 13-hour-drive to Minnesota for the final matches of the spring. We’ll report back, visually, from the first home matches in the Convo, in early September.
Sometime before that, I’ll write up an introduction to the five new members of the team. We had four, and have now added Alexis Pinson, a middle blocker from Arizona State with one final year of eligibility. I do believe we are going to be cooking come August.
As always in the spring, some changes are in store for the team. MatchPointOhio caught some exciting play last Saturday, and here’s the video, complete with a misspelling in the title. (Once you enter a title on YouTube, the only way to change it is to upload the whole thing again: about three hours on a good connection.)
MatchPointOhio heads to Toledo (Maumee, actually) this Saturday for the first of four spring weekend competitions. It’s a “Spring Fling” put on by the Premier Volleyball Club for 16 Division I and II teams. Ohio State will be there, Bowling Green, Notre Dame, Toledo and many others. Doors open at eight, play starts at nine.
If this tournament is as well presented as the Kiva tournament of a year ago, we’ll be in for some great volleyball—so we’ll see all you fanatics up there.
Bill and Karen Hartnett asked me to put together a video of Lexie’s years with the Bobcats—and what fun I had with it, as I figured out the structure and balance. The music is a mix, but most of the choices are Lexie’s and Bill’s. The intelligence, the humor, the candid charm—all Lexie.
Texas dominated in almost every way. The first set was a 25-11 drubbing, and when Oregon dropped the second set, 26-24, it was pretty much all over.
Consider this odd statistic: that Oregon had more kills than Texas, 46-45. It’s because Texas was logging so many points on defense they weren’t attacking as often. Oregon had a total of one team block for the night. (A couple of block assists adds up to a single team block.) Texas had 15. They were taller than Oregon and pretty much ruled the net. The best passing I’ve ever seen in a volleyball match. Stellar setting, and one crushing kill after another, one devastating block after another.
So the team MatchPointOhio was rooting for got drubbed. All the same, it was a great night. Louisville’s Yum Center (I’ll skip the exclamation point, thank you), which is a gem of an arena set in the heart of downtown, seats 22,000. The highest seats are truly in nosebleed territory, so far away the court looked—not like a postage stamp, but perhaps a book lying on the floor. A Bible, say, with the title just legible. Cricket and I climbed to the top seats just to check them out. Absurd, I thought—yet people sat pretty far up in the upper section.
We sat much closer to the court, with a couple of tickets scalped for 20 bucks apiece outside the center. It was a thrill just to be there. The night’s attendance was 16,488. It wasn’t a record—last year’s championships in Omaha had over 17,000. But the women continue to outdraw the men. (The attendance record for a men’s NCAA championsip match was set in Honolulu in 1998, and didn’t reach 10,000.)
I’ve asked before: is there any other team sport where more people are watching the women play than the men?
I was sorry to see the Ducks lose, but it was still a great match, in a great venue, with a huge crowd.
And that, I’d say, is about the end of the 2012 volleyball season. MatchPointOhio may go still for a time—but you can always check out our photos and videos.
We rooted for the underdogs, and one of them came through in the NCAA semi-finals last night: the Oregon Ducks. (Michigan took Texas to five sets, a great match, but the Longhorns prevailed.)
Oregon dropped the first set to #1 Penn State, but battled back in the second, taking it 30-28. They took the next two, in what was another dynamic match. Liz Brenner was fabulous, Ariana Williams, Alaina Bergsma and Katherine Fisher, Haley Jacob their stellar libero, all of them. Fisher is still our favorite. At 5’10″, it’s amazing the balls she can put on the floor. For the altitudinally challenged (and an outside hitter only 5’10″ tall is definitely on the short side), she is a thrill to watch.
Of course, the main reason we like them is that we took a set from them here in the Convo, and gave them a run in every other set. So down to Louisville for the finals tomorrow night, and I’ll report back.
Some years I don’t follow them at all. This year, perhaps because the NCAA Finals are being held in Louisville, which is close enough for the Two Crazies (Cricket and I) to get to—and we will be going—I’ve been keeping track of the matches.
Most exciting, because we played their team in September, is that Oregon ran over Nebraska last night, 3-1. This means the Ducks will be going to the Final Four for the first time ever. When we played Oregon they were #2 in the country, and only two other teams had taken a set from them. We took one, in a truly great match at the Convo.
The photo is of Faith Robins hitting past Oregon’s Katherine Fisher, their five-ten(!) powerhouse outside hitter.
Over in the other bracket, unranked Michigan defeated Stanford, so Michigan will also be going to the semi-finals. Oregon will play #1 Penn State, and Michigan will play #3 Texas. I’m rooting for the underdogs.