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Match Point Ohio

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.


The MPO Blog

The Matches in Hawai’i

September 1st, 2014 by John Thorndike

What a weekend. MatchPointOhio was up until 3:30 on Friday night watching the streamed match against Hawai’i. Very creditable play. We got swept, but every set was close.

The next night all we had was Live Stats, but we were glued to the screen at Cricket’s house, and after dropping the first set, the victory was sweet over San Diego State.

Tonight we “watched” the match (Live Stats again) against Arizona State from my house, which has its advantages. When we want to scream we scream, when we want to howl we howl. My neighbors are not that close, and by now they’ve probably figured out what’s up when the screams erupt from my open windows. My neighbors are all my tenants, and they know what a maniac I am about the OU volleyball team.

You’ve seen the numbers, so you know the first set tonight was pretty miserable. Then we poured it on and took the second set in a very sweet victory, which said more for our team, I think, than anything we’ve seen this year. The third set was a teaser. Cricket and I were jumping up and down at the end, glorying in the victory, happy to be up two to one—but then we found it was a mistake by whoever was entering the scores in the Live Stats, and instead of winning 26-24, we lost 26-24. But there was more howling to come, when we pushed through and took the fourth set, also 26-24.

Out of all the stats of the weekend I’ll point out just two. Kelly Lamberti had 60 attacks in the San Diego State match. 60! I was trying to imagine how her arm felt after that. (Of course, she had 56 tonight, as well.) And the other detail: in tonight’s match, Jaime Kosiorek had eight service aces. I can’t remember ever seeing anything like that in any match, any time.

Cricket and I came away thinking the obvious: we have a great team, and we’re going to have a great year.

Green & White Scrimmage Video

August 26th, 2014 by John Thorndike

Here’s an introduction to each player on the 2014 team.

Have you got them all down yet, names and faces? Watch the first 30 seconds of this video and you’ll want to know them all.

Green and White Contest (click on 2014 Match Photos to the right)

August 24th, 2014 by Cricket Jones

Early Practice Video

August 19th, 2014 by John Thorndike

MatchPointOhio attended a couple of lively practices last week, and we can report that the new head coach, Deane Webb, runs quite a show. They were demanding practices centered on ball control. “Ball control is your foundation,” the coach said, “then you can build the rest of the house.” (I’m quoting from memory, but that’s close.) Or as we say so often in the stands, “It all starts with the pass.”

The first drill we saw went on for the better part of an hour, looking for complete accuracy from an easy tossed ball. Later the serves came in with wicked speed, from assistant coach Ariel Apolinario and volunteer assistant coach Mike Shearer, as well as from a new serving machine aimed by assistant coach Maggie Johnson. Everyone called the serving machine “Louis”, and it delivered balls at 55-60 mph. Ariel and Mike’s overhand serves came over much faster than that. I tell you, that was a fun drill to watch! Frustrating for the serve-receivers at times—but you can hear Deane talk about that in the season’s first video: just click on the photo below.

This Saturday at 3, at the City Rec building on East State, don’t miss the annual Green & White Scrimmage. Following the scrimmage, MatchPointOhio will bring you a rundown on all the members of the team. Chelsea Bilger is back as outside hitter, and we have four new team members, as well as the four new coaches.

Here Is the First Look at New Faces on the 2014 Ohio University Volleyball Team at a Pair of Early Practices

August 19th, 2014 by Cricket Jones

IMG_9684 - Version 2

To see photos of players and coaches, at a practice run by new Head Coach Deane Webb, click on the picture below

Ohio University Volleyball 2014 Pre-season

“The Feel of the Ball” Once Again

August 17th, 2014 by John Thorndike



At the start of every OU volleyball season I repost here the first post I ever wrote for MatchPointOhio. I’m still crazy about the sport, and still infatuated with the Tachikara SV5W.


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 in sport, there is nothing like the feel of a volleyball.

That’s what drew me to the game years ago: how right the ball felt. And that first one was a mangy old street ball in New York City’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 raquetball, 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, at least 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 crushing spike, or the salvation of a great dig. 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.

Spring Season, well after it’s over

May 20th, 2014 by John Thorndike

There’s volleyball and there’s the rest of life, and sometimes it’s a toss-up as to which is enhancing or impeding the other.

The rest of it has been a blur this spring, due in large part to the death of a friend–the second recent death of a friend I’d been close to for 55 years. I was back East and missed the Louisville match, which I heard was a good one.

MatchPointOhio made the other spring scrimmages and games—but instead of 3-4 videos, we offer only one, with clips from several matches.

The team played without the seniors (save for Liis, who may get her own video later), and without Katie Horton, who is leaving the team (I hear rumors about where she’s going, but nothing definitive). The players were having fun, Coach Webb was clearly trying out players and positions—and the rest we will learn in August and September as the 2014 season unfolds.

See you then.