Box Score (PDF)
COLUMBUS, Ohio -- The Ohio volleyball team (0-1) got off to a fast start but could not sustain the momentum, falling to Texas A&M, 3-1 (24-26, 25-18, 25-17, 25-16), today in the 2018 regular season opener for both teams in the opening match of the Sports Imports Classic at St. John Arena.
"I don't think we were mentally focused enough today," said fifth-year head coach Deane Webb. "It just seemed there were stretches by both teams that we just really weren't focused at the level that we should be. Both teams had a number of unforced errors. It seemed like they came in runs."
The Bobcats hit .485 with 18 kills and just two errors in the first set but followed it up with set hitting percentages of -.086 (five kills, eight errors), -.033 (seven kills, eight errors) and .147 (13 kills, eight errors).
"The first set, 18 kills and only two errors is tremendous," said Webb. "I'm not going to expect our team to hit .485 very often. That was a tremendous first set. I also wouldn't expect us to drop off that much. We have to be a little more focused on what we're doing. Knowing when the moments are there to aggressively go after a ball and knowing when the moments are that we have to put a ball in play. It's a fine line. You have to be aggressive enough to go score your own points, and you have to go get your kills without being reckless. I just think the moments we should have chosen to be aggressive, we put a lot of those balls into play today. The moments where the ball should have been taken care of, some of those balls we were hitting out of bounds. I just think our decision making has to be at a much higher level."
Ohio broke a 10-all tie in the first set by going on a 7-3 run that was highlighted by back-to-back-to-back kills by junior middle blocker Sara Januszewski (Oak Creek, Wis.), redshirt senior right side hitter Katie Nelson (Regina, Saskatchewan) and junior outside hitter Lizzie Stephens (Dallas, Texas). Texas A&M made it a one-point set following kills by sophomore setter Camille Conner and junior outside hitter Hollann Hans and a solo block by Conner. Kills by sophomore middle blocker Tia Jimerson (Sugar Hill, Ga.), sophomore setter Vera Giacomazzi (San Vendemiano, Italy) and redshirt senior outside hitter Jaime Kosiorek (Chagrin Falls, Ohio) put Ohio back up by three at 20-17, but the Aggies took a one-point lead after kills by Hans and freshman middle blocker London Austin-Roark and a service ace by Conner helped Texas A&M score four-straight points. A kill by Nelson and a double block by Nelson and Januszewski put the Bobcats back up by one, but the Aggies snatched the lead back after an Ohio service error and a kill by junior outside hitter Brookah Palmer. Januszewski tied things up again with a kill, but Texas A&M had set point after a kill by Austin-Roark. The Bobcats did not quit, though, and won the set by scoring the final three points -- including a kill by Stephens and another by Kosiorek that put Ohio up 1-0 in the match.
The Bobcats built up a 15-12 lead in the second set, with a pair of doubles blocks by Nelson and Januszewski and a double block by Kosiorek and Januszewski serving as the highlights. The Aggies held Ohio to just three more points the rest of the way, however, putting together a 13-3 run to even the match.
Texas A&M earned a wire-to-wire win in the third set to take a 2-1 match lead. A kill by sophomore Makena Patterson gave the Aggies a 6-2 advantage, and Texas A&M never led by less than four the rest of the way.
The Aggies picked up where they left off in the fourth, scoring the first eight points in a stretch that saw Ohio commit four-straight attack errors. Texas A&M's lead swelled to as much as 11 three times late in the set. A kill by Stephens and back-to-back double blocks by Januszewski and Nelson and Stephens and Januszewski cut the Aggies' lead to single digits, but Texas A&M closed out the match when the Bobcats committed their 26th attack error of the evening.
Jimerson led Ohio with 14 kills and hit .300 for the match. Januszewski hit a team-best .357 with seven kills and also led the match with six assisted blocks, marking the ninth time in her Ohio career she also recorded five or more total blocks. Nelson also recorded seven kills to go along with five assisted blocks. Giacomazzi distributed a team-high 35 assists. Sophomore libero/defensive specialist Macy Reihing (Lexington, Ky.) led the team with 12 digs while Stephens added 11.
Three Aggies put together big matches to lead Texas A&M to victory. Hans led the way with a match-high 20 kills off of a .326 hitting percentage. Palmer hit a match-best .414 and achieved a double-double with 16 kills and 14 digs. Austin-Roark also recorded double-digit kills with 11 and hit at a .308 clip. Conner led the match with 47 assists and two service aces and tied Patterson for the team lead with three total blocks (one solo, two assisted). Senior libero/defensive specialist Amy Houser compiled a match-high 15 digs.
Ohio will look to bounce back on Saturday (Aug. 25) when it takes on Sports Imports Classic host Ohio State at 12:30 p.m. EST followed by a 5:30 p.m. matchup against Albany. Jake Hromada, 'The Voice of Ohio Volleyball', and Gabe Genovesi will have the call of the action on OhioBobcats.com via Stretch Internet's GameCentral. The Bobcats showdown with the Buckeyes will also be streamed live on Big Ten Network Plus ($).