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.
This has become an annual endeavor: to show the trials of the middle hitter, and especially of the middle blocker. You’ll see, over and over, how the middles of either team guess wrong, in their attempt to double-block the outside or offside hitter. Then, with Mal and Jamie, the other team’s middle has to defend against an attack from the back row—not to mention the danger that on any play, Steph or Katelyn might dump the ball.
No wonder Shelby Walker said last year that the outside hitter position was “so restful,” compared to a middle’s job.
It looks to me like the most difficult job on the team. The setter makes as many decisions, but she’s almost always on the attack. It’s the defense that tries one’s attention and quickness. As I say in the video, there’s no middle blocker who doesn’t get fooled, at least some of the time. We fooled Paige Hill from Miami, then we fooled Drew Norberg from Kent State—and they are great players. Well, that’s our job, and we’re doing it pretty well.
A solid performance against Akron, in our first match for 2016 within the MAC Conference. First Brooke Coleman passes the ball, then Ali Lake crushes it. Or that’s how it seemed to go, over and over. Here’s the video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hzXWOy-T-a0
Lots going on with the team, as Coach Webb has moved freshman Lizzie Stephens into the hitting slot opposite Jaime, and Mal is our new libero. Seems to me that we’re loaded for bear in our defensive positions.
Should be an interesting night against Akron, and tomorrow against Buffalo.
MatchPointOhio has been overwhelmed by other life. (You mean there’s life outside volleyball?) But our stills and videos have been going up, and the videos, so far, are listed on the 2016 Match Videos link in the sidebar to the right.
Cricket and I made the final trip of the spring to Indianapolis and the Academy Volleyball Club—a big industrial building just inside the Interstate ring that buzzed with whistles, shouts, hard-hit balls and a few moans, as eight teams tore it up on ten nets—all, I imagine, trying to figure out their lineups and tactics for the coming year.
We played four teams: IUPUI (Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, pronounced, I am told by past residents of Indiana, U-ee Poo-ee), Lipscomb (a Division 1, faith-based liberal arts university in Nashville), Purdue and Indiana State. Two sets apiece, and if I remember right we dropped two sets to Purdue, one to Indiana State, and won the rest. Not that anyone was keeping track. There are refs and linespeople at these spring tournaments, but no one keeping any official records.
What I dropped was my camcorder, luckily on the padded floor. Cricket stepped up with some clips from her video-capable Canon, so we have a pretty good record of the day: most shots, of course (save for some crushing blocks by Purdue), chosen to show how well our team was doing, and what a gorgeous sport this is.
The team had a good Saturday in Louisville, at this year’s Kiva Tournament. We played Xavier, Michigan State and Louisville, two sets apiece, and split each match, losing the first set and winning the second in every case.
The final set against Louisville was a thrill, as by then the team was completely in the groove.
Next up: the final action of the spring (today is the last day of practice for the team), in Indianapolis on Saturday.
It’s getting to be a ritual. At the end of the season I go back over clips from several matches and find examples of Coach Webb’s advice to Shelby Walker near the end of our match against Northern Illinois at the MAC Championships: “You run, you scream your head off, you make their middle park on you, then we score at both ends.”
Park on you? Something like that; you’ll hear it again in this video.d He means: You make their middle go up to block you. Maybe you get the set, maybe it goes out to Jaime or Mal or Ali on the outside, but either way we score.
It’s a Rubik’s cube, it’s a chess game that’s going on all the time at the net. During the match, it all flashes by so fast I barely see it. Here we slow things down to a meditative state, so we can follow exactly what happened.
This is it: the last video of 2015. Wish I could have gone to Provo to record the BYU match. Not that the NCAA lets people with camcorders roam around the gym, as I get to do at other matches. But as Ali’s mother said, “It was a thing of beauty to watch the girls scare the tar out of BYU!”