ATHENS, Ohio -- The Ohio volleyball team (8-9, 3-1 MAC) readies for a pair of key Mid-American Conference road tests this weekend, taking on a pair of East Division rivals. The Bobcats clash with archrival Miami (11-5, 3-1 MAC) on Friday (Oct. 5) in a 7 p.m. Battle of the Bricks matchup at Millett Hall, then square off with Bowling Green (9-8, 3-1 MAC) on Saturday (Oct. 6) at 5 p.m. at the Stroh Center. Both matches will be streamed live on ESPN+.
WEEK SEVEN • MAC WEEK 3
Friday, Oct. 5, 2018
7 p.m. | Ohio at Miami | Millett Hall | Oxford, Ohio | Live Stats | ESPN+
Saturday, Oct. 6, 2018
5 p.m. | Ohio at Bowling Green | Stroh Center | Bowling Green, Ohio | Live Stats | ESPN+
BOBCATS SPLIT HOME MATCHES AGAINST BUFFALO, AKRON
The Bobcats enter this weekend with a conference mark of 3-1. Ohio opened the second weekend of league play by suffering a tough 3-2, (25-22, 17-25, 22-25, 26-24,15-9) loss to MAC East Division rival Buffalo last Friday (Sept. 28) at the Convocation Center. The Bobcats bounced back the following day, however, sweeping East Division rival Akron, 3-0 (25-21, 25-14, 25-22), at the Convo. Junior outside hitter Lizzie Stephens (Dallas, Texas) led Ohio with 25 kills (3.12), five service aces (0.62 per set) and 31 points (3.94 per set) while ranking third on the team with 19 digs (2.38 per set) over the two matches. Redshirt senior middle blocker Katie Nelson (Regina, Saskatchewan) led the Bobcats with 10 total blocks (one solo, nine assisted; 1.25 per set) and tied for third on the squad with 15 kills (1.88), ranking third on the team with 20 points (2.56 per set). Sophomore setter Vera Giacomazzi (San Vendemiano, Italy) tallied a team-high 79 assists (9.88 per set), recording a season-high 53 in the loss to the Bulls.
OHIO STARTS MAC PLAY 2-0
Ohio opened up the MAC portion of its schedule with a 3-1 (21-25, 25-16, 25-19, 25-20) victory over East Division rival Kent State at the Convo on Sept. 20. Junior middle blocker Sara Januszewski (Oak Creek, Wis.) hit a staggering .733 with a season-high 11 kills and no errors in 33 total attempts in the win over the Golden Flashes. The Bobcats then earned a 3-0 (26-24, 25-21, 25-22) road sweep of West Division foe Central Michigan on Sept. 22 at McGuirk Arena in Mount Pleasant, Mich.
The Bobcats started MAC play 2-0 for the for the 14th time in the last 16 years -- including four of five seasons under head coach Deane Webb.
GIACOMAZZI NAMED MAC SETTER OF THE WEEK
Giacomazzi was named the MAC East Division Setter of the Week after helping Ohio start MAC play 2-0, as announced by the league office on Sept. 24.
Giacomazzi became the second Bobcat to earn conference weekly award honors in 2018, joining sophomore middle blocker Tia Jimerson (Sugar Hill, Ga.), who was named MAC East Division Offensive Player of the Week on Sept. 4. She earned conference weekly award recognition for the first time in her career and became the first Bobcat to be named MAC East Division Setter of the Week, which is a new conference weekly award for the 2018 season.
Giacomazzi totaled a team-high 84 assists (12.00 per set) for the Bobcats last weekend. She put together an impressive performance in the four-set win over Kent State, leading the match with 40 assists while adding eight digs and four total blocks (one solo, three assisted). Giacomazzi then led the match with 44 assists in the road sweep of West Division foe Central Michigan. The weekend marked the first time this season Giacomazzi has totaled at least 20 assists in back-to-back matches.
IN THE RANKINGS
As a team through 17 matches in 2018, Ohio leads the MAC lead and ranks 30th in the country with 101 service aces and ranks second in the conference and 47th in the nation with 1.58 service aces per set. The Bobcats also rank third in the MAC and 70th in the country with 141.5 total blocks and rank third in the MAC with 2.21 blocks per set.
IN IT TO WIN IT
Ohio was selected to win the MAC East Division, regular season and tournament titles in the league's 2018 preseason coaches' poll, the conference office announced on Aug. 22.
The Bobcats earned nine of the MAC East Division's 12 first-place votes and finished with 68 points. Ohio earned eight of 11 votes to win the regular season crown and five of 11 votes to win the tournament title. The poll was voted on the conference's 12 head coaches, with one head coach choosing not to select a regular season or tournament champion.
THE DEANE OF OHIO VOLLEYBALL
Webb is in his fifth year as the head coach of the Ohio volleyball program in 2018. The Bobcats have gone 89-52 (.631) under the direction of Webb. -- including 53-15 (.779) in MAC play. Ohio won a MAC regular season title with a perfect 16-0 (1.000) league year in 2014, then captured the conference tournament title in 2015, the latter of which propelled the 'Cats to their 10th NCAA Championship appearance in program history.
The Bobcats have also excelled in the classroom under Webb. Ohio's 22 Academic All-MAC selections since Webb's arrival in Athens are the most under any head coach in the history of the Ohio volleyball program.
Webb owns an overall career coaching record of 459-268 (.631) over 21-plus seasons -- including 318-208 (.605) over 17-plus seasons at the NCAA Division I level.
READY FOR AN ENCORE
Giacomazzi, Jimerson and Stephens represented Ohio on the 2018 Preseason East Division All-MAC Team.
Stephens, who was named a team co-captain on Tuesday, played in all 32 matches and appeared in all 122 sets in her 2017 sophomore season, earning All-MAC First Team honors. She led both the team and the MAC and ranked 66th in the country with a career-high 443 kills (3.63 per set), which ranks as the eighth-most in a single season in program history in the rally scoring era. She posted double-digit kills 25 times -- including 20 or more three times. Stephens led both the team and the MAC and ranked fifth in the nation with a career-high 60 service aces, which ranks as the fourth-most overall in program history and most in program history in the rally scoring era. She posted three or more service aces on 10 occasions. Her 0.49 service aces per set led both the team and the MAC and ranked sixth in the country and rank as the most in program history in the rally scoring era. Stephens led the team and ranked second in the MAC with a career-high 527.5 points (4.32 per set), which ranks as the ninth-most in program history in the rally scoring era. She posted 20 or more points 10 times. Stephens also ranked second on the team with a career-high 320 digs (2.62 per set) and posted double-digit digs 15 times -- including 20 or more two times.
Through 17 matches in 2018, Stephens ranks second on the team in kills (159; 2.48 per set), service aces (27; 0.42 per set) and digs (146; 2.28 per set). She ranks third in the MAC and 25th in the country in service aces and fourth in the conference and 55th in the nation in service aces per set. Stephens leads the team with four double-doubles and has posted double-digit kills seven times and double-digit digs seven times. She has recorded three or more service aces three times this year.
Giacomazzi played in 32 matches and appeared in 121 sets in her 2017 freshman campaign, earning MAC Setter of the Year and All-MAC First Team honors as well as a spot on the MAC All-Freshman Team. She ranked second in the MAC and 30th in the country with a team-high 1,278 assists (10.56 per set; fourth in the MAC) -- the most assists in a single season by an Ohio freshman in the rally scoring era in program history, the ninth-most assists in a single season by any player in the rally scoring era and the 10th-most in a single season by any player in the overall history of the program. She tallied 40 or more assists 17 times, 50 or more assists eight times and 60 or more assists once. Giacomazzi ranked third on the team with 306 digs (2.53 per set) and posted double-digit digs 14 times. She achieved 14 double-doubles. Giacomazzi also ranked third on the team with 52 total blocks (two solo, 50 assisted; 0.43 per set).
Through 17 matches in 2018, Giacomazzi leads Ohio with 485 assists (7.58 per set), which is good for fifth in the MAC. She has tallied 40 or more assists four times, including in three of the last four matches. Giacomazzi is tied for second on the team with three double-doubles.
Jimerson played in all 32 matches and appeared in all 122 sets in her 2017 rookie season, earning MAC Freshman of the Year and All-MAC First Team honors as well as a spot on the MAC All-Freshman Team. She led the team and ranked fourth in the MAC and 59th in the country with a .358 attack percentage (409 kills-112 errors-829 total attacks), which tied for the third-best hitting percentage in a single season in the rally scoring era and tied for fifth-best in a single season in the overall history of the program. Jimerson ranked second on the team and fourth in the MAC with 409 kills (3.35 per set) and posted double-digit kills 21 times -- including 20 or more three times. She led the team with 105 total blocks (25 solo, 80 assisted; 0.86 per set), with her 25 solo blocks tied for the seventh-most in a single season in the rally scoring era of the program. She posted five or more total blocks 10 times. Jimerson also ranked second on the team with 479 points (3.93 per set) and posted 20 or more points six times.
Jimerson, who has missed the last 11 matches due to injury, is sixth on the team with 19 total blocks (19 assisted; 0.95 per set) and ranks fourth with 60 kills (3.00 per set).
Stephens joins Nelson and redshirt senior outside hitter Jaime Kosiorek (Chagrin Falls, Ohio) as Ohio's co-captains for the 2018 season.
Kosiorek and Nelson are in their second seasons serving as team co-captains.
In addition to Kosiorek, Nelson and Stephens serving as team co-captains, junior libero/defensive specialist Meredith Howe (Grand Rapids, Mich.) is in her second season serving as the program's second-ever academic captain.
READY FOR A COMEBACK
Kosiorek and redshirt junior middle blocker Simone Miller (Kalamazoo, Mich.) all missed either all or the majority of the 2017 season due to injuries.
Kosiorek was an All-MAC Honorable Mention selection in 2016. Her 3,737 total attacks rank fourth overall in program history and third in the rally scoring era. Her 154 service aces are fifth overall in program history and second in the rally scoring era. She is nine service aces away from breaking the program's career rally scoring era record. Her 0.38 service aces per set rank second in the rally scoring era in program history. Her 1,215 kills rank seventh in the rally scoring era in program history. Her 2.98 kills per set rank 10th in the rally scoring era in program history. Her 1,445.5 points rank seventh in the rally scoring era in program history. Her 3.54 points per set are seventh in the rally scoring era in program history.
Through 17 matches in 2018, Kosiorek leads Ohio with 177 kills (2.77 per set) and 34 service aces (0.53 per set). She enters this weekend ranked sixth in the country in service aces and 14th in service aces per set. She is tied for second on the team with three double doubles and has posted double-digit kills 10 times and double-digit digs five times this season. Kosiorek has recorded three or more assists four times this year.
In 2016, Nelson led the team with a career-high 91 total blocks (17 solo, 74 assisted; 0.89 per set), recording five or more total blocks on a career-high seven occasions. She ranked fourth on the team with a career-high 201 kills (1.97 per set) and recorded double-digit kills on a career-high seven occasions.
Through 17 matches in 2018, Nelson ranks second on the team with 62 total blocks (four solo, 58 assisted; 0.98 per set) and third with 140 kills (2.22 per set). She has tallied five or more total blocks six times this season and has posted double-digit kills seven times.
Miller ranked third on the team with a career-high 49 total blocks (10 solo, 39 assisted; 0.98 per set) in 2016. She
Through 17 matches in 2018, Miller leads Ohio with 73 total blocks (five solo, 68 assisted; 1.35 per set). She enters the weekend ranked second among MAC players in total blocks and first among MAC players and 28th in the country in blocks per set. She has record five or more total blocks six times this year. On the opening weekend of MAC play, Miller led Ohio with 14 total blocks (two solo, 12 assisted; 2.00 per set). She matched her career high with 10 total blocks (two solo, eight assisted) in the victory over Kent State.
Though Giacomazzi and Jimerson earned all-conference accolades in 2017, Reihing put together a freshman campaign to remember as well. Her 484 digs led the team and ranked as the 10th-most in a single season in history and eighth-most in the rally scoring era while her 4.14 digs per set ranked as the ninth-most in a single season in the rally scoring era in program history. She tallied double-digit digs on 24 occasions -- including 20 or more nine times and 30 or more once.
Through 17 matches in 2018, Reihing leads the team with 272 digs (4.32 per set). She has tallied double-digit digs on 12 occasions -- including 20 or more five times and 30 or more once.
SCOUTING THE OPPOSITION: MIAMI
Ohio is 32-41 (.438) all-time against Miami. The Bobcats and the RedHawks split the regular season series in 2017. Ohio was swept by Miami in its last trip to Oxford in the regular season, 3-0 (25-19, 25-22, 25-13), on Nov. 4, 2017. The two teams squared off again 14 days later in the 2017 MAC Championship Semifinal at Millett Hall, with the RedHawks prevailing again, 3-0 (25-21, 25-21, 25-23). Ohio is 4-5 against Miami in the Webb era.
Miami is led by 35th-year head coach Carolyn Condit. Condit has guided Miami to back-to-back co-MAC regular season championships, a MAC tournament title in 2017 and back-to-back NCAA Tournament berths. The RedHawks were picked to finish fourth in the MAC East Division in the conference's preseason coaches' poll with 42 points.
Miami split a pair of conference matches last weekend. After falling to East Division rival Bowling Green, 3-1 (19-25, 25-19, 25-23, 25-17), last Thursday (Sept. 27) at the Stroh Center, the RedHawks rebounded with a 3-0 (25-18, 28-26, 25-18) sweep of West Division foe Northern Illinois on Sunday (Sept. 30).
The RedHawks are tied for second among MAC teams with 93 service aces and rank third in the league and 48th in the country with 1.58 service aces per set.
Four players have totaled over 100 kills so far for Miami -- junior middle hitter Margaret Payne (144; 2.44 per set), freshman outside hitter Gaby Harper (130; 2.45 per set), senior outside hitter/right side hitter Stela Kukoc (118; 2.23 per set) and freshman middle hitter Corinne Jemison (103; 2.15 per set). Kukoc also leads the RedHawks with 23 service aces (0.43 per set) and 168 digs (3.17 per set) while Payne, a 2018 Preseason East Division All-MAC Team selection, paces Miami with 73 total blocks (eight solo, 65 assisted; 1.24 per set). Sophomore setter Morgan Seaman has dished out a team-high 336 assists (5.69 per set).
SCOUTING THE OPPOSITION: BOWLING GREEN
The Bobcats hold a 37-31 (.544) lead in the all-time series with the Falcons. Ohio split the 2017 regular season series with Bowling Green, coming away with a thrilling 3-2 (25-17, 15-25, 25-20, 15-25, 17-15) triumph in its last visit to the Stroh Center on Nov. 3. The Bobcats are 7-1 against the Falcons in the Webb era.
Danijela Tomic is her seventh season at the helm of the Falcons. Bowling Green was tabbed to place second behind Ohio in the MAC East Division in the preseason coaches' poll with 60 points and received three first-place votes.
Bowling Green went 1-1 on the second weekend of MAC play. After earning a big home win over Miami last Thursday, the Falcons dropped a 3-1 (25-21, 25-15, 21-25, 27-25) decision to West Division foe Western Michigan on Saturday at the Stroh Center. The Falcons are tied with Eastern Michigan for the distinction of top passing teams in the conference with 1,174 digs (18.94 per set; first in the MAC, fourth in the country), which is also tied for 14th in the nation.
Five Falcons have posted over 100 kills so far -- senior outside hitter/right side hitter Isabel Kovacic (133; 2.38 per set), senior middle blocker Madeline Brandewie (129; 2.19 per set), sophomore middle blocker Katie Kidwell (118; 2.00 per set), freshman outside hitter Katelyn Meyer (105; 2.44 per set) and sophomore outside hitter Jacqueline Askin (102; 1.96 per set). Kidwell also leads Bowling Green with 61 total blocks (11 solo, 50 assisted; 1.03 per set). Junior defensive specialist Paulina Iacobelli leads the Falcons with 16 service aces (0.28 per set) and is one of six Bowling Green players with double-digit service aces. Junior setter Isabelle Marciniak has handed out a team-high 527 assists (8.93 per set). Senior libero/defensive specialist Kallie Seimet is leading Bowling Green with 406 digs (6.55 per set), ranking second in the MAC and 18th in the country in digs and second in the league and 13th in the nation in digs per set.
Before hosting the Bobcats on Saturday, Bowling Green will play host to MAC East Division rival Kent State on Friday at 6 p.m.
Ohio closes out its stretch of four-straight road matches next weekend with visits to MAC West Division foes, traveling to Ball State on Friday (Oct. 12) and Toledo on Saturday (Oct. 13).