Box Score (PDF)
By Mike Ashcraft
ATHENS, Ohio -- The Ohio volleyball team (8-10, 2-2 MAC) fell back to .500 in Mid-American Conference play with a 3-1 (17-25, 25-21, 25-22, 25-22) loss to East Division rival Bowling Green (7-8, 3-1 MAC) on Saturday (Sept. 30) at the Convocation Center.
The Bobcats were hampered by 27 attack errors, eight service errors and seven reception errors in the loss to the Falcons. Bowling Green came out on top in four sets despite hitting just .170.
"In that first set, we hit several balls out of bounds," said fourth-year head coach Deane Webb. "We were not really careful with the ball when we needed to be. We had a bunch of unforced errors. And, then, as they (Bowling Green) got better, we could no longer continue with that rate of errors. They did a much better job as the match went on. It was just one of those interesting matches. We outhit them for the night by 30 points. In the last set, we outhit them by almost a hundred and lose. Late in sets, we weren't as crisp as we needed to be. We struggled in serve receive today. We got aced seven times; that's way too many for a four-set match. That's just something we need to improve."
Freshman middle blocker Tia Jimerson (Sugar Hill, Ohio) continued her solid rookie campaign by hitting .395 with 18 kills to tie for the match lead. She added 14 digs to post her second-straight double-double. Jimerson also logged a team-high three assisted blocks, a service ace and an assist. Sophomore outside hitter Lizzie Stephens (Dallas, Texas) matched Jimerson for the match lead with 18 kills and also achieved a double-double by tying her career high with 20 digs, giving her a team-high seven double-doubles on the season. She also led Ohio with two service aces and added an assist. Junior setter/outside hitter Stephanie Olman (Maumee, Ohio) totaled a career-high 16 kills and hit at a .208 pace. She also chipped in an assisted block and two digs. Freshman setter Vera Giacomazzi (San Vendemiano, Italy) dished out a match-high 58 assists, marking the fourth time she has tallied 50 or more assists. She also recorded a kill, two assisted blocks and a service ace and achieved her fifth career double-double and second in a row with a career-high 21 digs. Freshman libero Macy Reihing (Lexington, Ky.) finished with a team-high 25 digs and also had five assists. Redshirt sophomore outside hitter Carley Remmers (Filley, Neb.) notched a career-high 16 digs to go along with a kill, a service ace and an assist.
"With more reps in practice and having my teammates encouraging me the whole time and pushing me to get better, it's happening," said Olman, who played arguably her best match of the season on the outside, of her comfort level improving at a position she has not had much experience with at the collegiate level."
Bowling Green was led by a 16-kill effort by senior outside hitter Nicole Slimko, who hit .302 for the match. She also tied for the team lead with four total blocks (one solo, three assisted) and pitched in a dig. Freshman outside hitter Jacqueline Akin also finished with double-digit kills for the Falcons, tallying 10. She also had three digs. Freshman middle blocker Katie Kidwell totaled seven kills and tied for the match lead with four assisted blocks. She hit at a .286 rate. Sophomore defensive specialist Paulina Iacobelli led the match with five service aces to go along with 18 digs and two assists. Sophomore setter Isabelle Marciniak achieved a double-double with a team-high 42 assists to go with 13 digs. She also had four kills. Freshman middle blocker Katie Seimet piled up a match-high 29 digs and also added two assists. Sophomore defensive specialist Victoria Iacobelli also finished with double-digit digs, totaling 14 to go along with a service ace and an assist.
Ohio grabbed an eight-point victory in the first set after hitting at a .245 pace with 19 kills. A kill by Jimerson broke a six-all tie and gave Ohio a lead it did not relinquish the rest of the set. Stephens racked up eight kills and a service ace while Olman added four kills and Jimerson posted three more and an assisted block.
Bowling Green responded by jumping out to a 5-0 lead in the second set, taking advantage of a solo block and a kill by sophomore middle blocker/right side hitter Celena Kanagin, a kill by Askin and a service ace by freshman setter/defensive specialist Kerstie Shaw. A kill by Kidwell made it 20-13 in favor of the Falcons, but Ohio countered with a 7-2 run that forced Bowling Green to burn a timeout. Service aces by Jimerson and Giacomazzi and a pair of kills by sophomore middle blocker/outside hitter Sara Januszewski (Oak Creek, Wis.) sparked Ohio's rally. Kills by Kidwell and sophomore outside hitter/right side hitter Jessi Holly helped Bowling Green put the Bobcats away, though, and even the match at one-all. Five kills by Slimko, three kills and two assisted blocks by Kidwell and two kills apiece by Kanagin and Askin powered the Falcons' attack while Ohio was plagued by six attack errors and three service errors.
A kill by Slimko gave Bowling Green an 8-7 edge in the third set -- a lead the Falcons never gave up again. After another kill by Slimko gave Bowling Green a 20-16 advantage, kills by Stephens and Olman helped the Bobcats trim the Falcons' lead down to one at 21-20. That's as close as Ohio got, though, as a pair of kills by Askin and another by Marciniak helped give Bowling Green a 2-1 match lead. The Falcons were led by five kills by Slimko in the set while Askin added four. The Bobcats committed six attack errors in the three-point loss.
A strong start to a set by the Falcons once again proved to be Ohio's downfall in the fourth set. Three service aces by Paulina Iacobelli, double blocks by Kidwell and Slimko and Kanagin and Kidwell and an Ohio service error helped Bowling Green jump out to a 6-1 lead. A kill by Slimko gave Bowling Green a 10-5 lead, but Ohio responded by scoring 15 of the next 24 points to grab a 20-19 edge. Four kills apiece by Stephens and Jimerson and two by redshirt senior middle blocker Ali Lake (Liberty Township, Ohio) sparked Ohio's comeback. Unfortunately for the Bobcats, Bowling Green finished off the match with a 6-2 run, taking advantage of four unforced errors by Ohio. Paulina Iacobelli helped the Falcons put the Bobcats away with four service aces while Marciniak added three kills and Kidwell pitched in two kills and two assisted blocks.
"I think we can learn that we need to work harder in transition," said Olman of what the Bobcats can learn from the loss. "This is probably one of the best defensive teams that we've played. The rallies extended a lot longer than we're normally used to, so I just think transitioning is something that we really need to work on."
The third week of MAC play will put the Bobcats back on the road. Ohio visits MAC East Division rival Kent State next Thursday Oct. 5) in a 7 p.m. ET contest, then travels to Ypsilanti, Mich., to meet Eastern Michigan in a 5 p.m. ET matchup on Saturday Oct. 7) to begin the month of October.