Nov. 23, 2012
ATHENS, Ohio - On the strength of a match-high 18 kills from outside hitter Chelsea Bilger, the University of Ohio Bobcats volleyball team earned a 3-2 (25-23, 25-23, 15-25, 21-25, 15-11) decision over the University of Notre Dame Friday at The Convocation Center in the 2012 regular season finale.
The Fighting Irish are eligible to earn an at-large bid into the 2012 NCAA Tournament, which will be announced during the tournament selection show Nov. 25 at 4 p.m. (ET). The bracket unveiling will be aired nationally on ESPNU.
Notre Dame (20-9) clawed back into the match down 2-0, decisively claiming the third set. The Fighting Irish raced out to a 5-1 advantage in the period and never looked back, taking seven of the final 10 points from the Bobcats (21-10) for the 25-15 win. Junior Maggie Brindock keyed the resurgence with four kills and nine assists in the set, while sophomore Jeni Houser added four kills of her own in the frame.
The Fighting Irish continued to apply pressure in the fourth set, erasing a two-point (13-15) deficit with a 6-1 run of play, capped by a block assist from Brindock and senior Hilary Eppink. Eppink added a solo block on an attack from Ohio's Karin Bull to clinch the 25-21 victory and square the match at two apiece.
The Bobcats grabbed an edge in the final set on a Bilger kill, set up by Abby Gilleland, that gave Ohio an 11-10 lead. Notre Dame responded with a Brindock feed to Houser for the tying kill (11-11). The Fighting Irish could not stall the Bobcats momentum, as the hosts tallied the final four points of the deciding set to take the match.
Houser powered the Fighting Irish attack with 16 kills, five digs and three blocks, while Brindock added a match-high 48 assists and six kills. Sophomore Toni Alugbue chipped in 20 digs and 13 kills.
Ohio led by as many as seven points (20-13) in the opening set before Notre Dame embarked on a 7-1 swing, capped by an Andie Olsen kill that brought the Fighting Irish within one at 21-20. The Bobcats emerged with the 25-23 set win after an attack error by Brindock.
An 18-15 Notre Dame lead in the second set did not hold up after an Ohio swing, with a Bull scoring tally closing the 7-2 scoring shift (22-20). An attack error by Bull gave the Fighting Irish an opportunity to square the frame trailing 24-23 with Houser serving, but a Bilger kill clinched the period for the Bobcats.
Bilger added seven digs along with her 18 kills, while Gilleland chipped in 46 assists. Serena Warner and Kelly Lamberti added 12 kills each for Ohio.