After some heart-breaking defeats early this season, including by 1 point to IUPUI and by 7 to Vanderbilt, the Marshall women earned a big breakthrough win on Friday evening, where they beat the Ohio Bobcats for the first time in program history. The final score of the meet was 160-138.
The meet didn’t start off in the favor of Marshall, as the Ohio women took the top two spots in the meet-opening 200 medley relay, and it wasn’t close. That included a 26.80 backstroke split from Addy Ferguson on the team’s A-relay that in total was a 1:45.15.
In fact, the Ohio women won 5 out of the first 6 events at the meet to build a significant early lead.
The Marshall women, however, began their comeback in the women’s 50 free, where redshirt sophomore Danica Ross won in 23.80 as part of a Marshall 1-2-4-5 finish. Ross didn’t swim the meet-opening 200 medley, and in fact only swam three events total at the meet, despite being the team’s best sprinter.
Marshall surged again in the women’s 3-meter event, where they scored 14 points to Ohio’s 4. The Bobcat women only competed one of their four divers at this meet, and so Marshall would later make another 10 points back on the 1-meter.
In the 100 free, it was Ross who won again in 52.68 followed by teammate Gloriya Marova in 53.00. This was Ross’ first meet since February of 2013 after battling an injury all of last year. Her boost was a literal, and emotional, boost for the Thundering Herd on this night.
Ohio’s Ferguson broke the Marshall streak with a win in the 200 back in 2:05.02, which couples with her earlier victory in the 100 back (56.92). She would later finish her meet with a 58.16 to win the women’s 100 fly – part of an Ohio 1-2-3 finish.
But Marshall held strong with back-to-back wins in the 200 breaststroke (Nele Albers – 2:22.22) and Emma Lockyer (500 free – 5:05.35) to keep in contention despite Ferguson’s efforts.
Marshall ended the meet with a 1:36.83 in the women’s 200 free relay, even though Danica Ross didn’t swim as well as she did in the individual event. Ohio was 2nd in 1:37.37 and also 3rd in 1 :40.58, but it wasn’t nearly enough to pull off the meet victory, with the final score putting the meet out of reach going into the final relay.
At the end of the day, each team came away with 8 wins, but the difference was that where Marshall won, they more often did so in dominating 1-2-type finishes, whereas Ohio’s wins weren’t supported by as many high-placing seconds and thirds (with the exception of that opening 200 medley). Marshall also had a big advantage of diving, though even ignoring diving wouldn’t have been enough to bring Ohio back to a tie or a win.
Marhsall’s next meet will be at Akron’s Zippy Invitational on December 5th, 6th, and 7th, while Ohio will be back on the road next weekend for Virginia Tech’s H2Okie Invitational.