ATHENS, Ohio -- The Ohio volleyball team (2-5) is set to play at home at the Convocation Center for the first time during the 2018 regular season this weekend (Sept. 7-8) when it plays host to the Bobcat Invitational presented by Texas Roadhouse.
On Friday (Sept. 7), the Bobcats will take on Samford at 10 a.m. EST and Virginia Tech at 7:30 p.m. Ohio closes the weekend out by battling IUPUI on Saturday (Sept. 8) at 2 p.m. All three matches involving Ohio at the Bobcat Invitational will be streamed via ESPN+. Jake Hromada, 'The Voice of Ohio Volleyball', and Gabe Genovesi will have the call of the action.
Friday night's contest between the Bobcats and the Hokies will serve as Ohio's 'Turn It Gold' match in acknowledgement of National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month.
WEEK THREE • BOBCAT INVITATIONAL PRESENTED BY TEXAS ROADHOUSE • CONVOCATION CENTER • ATHENS, OHIO
Friday, Sept. 7, 2018
10 a.m. EST | Ohio vs. Samford | Live Stats | ESPN+ ($)
12:30 p.m. EST | IUPUI vs. Virginia Tech | Live Stats
5 p.m. EST | Samford vs. IUPUI | Live Stats
7:30 p.m. EST | Ohio vs. Virginia Tech | Live Stats | ESPN+ ($)
Saturday, Sept. 8, 2018
11 a.m. EST | Virginia Tech vs. Samford | Live Stats
2 p.m. EST | Ohio vs. IUPUI | Live Stats | ESPN+ ($)
BOBCATS FALL AT MARSHALL
Redshirt senior outside hitter Jaime Kosiorek (Chagrin Falls, Ohio) and junior outside hitter Lizzie Stephens (Dallas, Texas) tied for the team lead with 13 kills and 10 digs apiece, but Ohio fell to longtime rival Marshall, 3-1 (25-21, 21-25, 25-20, 25-22), on Wednesday (Sept. 6) at the Cam Henderson Center in Huntington, W. Va. The Thundering Herd hit .266 (53 kills-20 errors-124 total attacks) as a team while holding the Bobcats to a .158 (47 kills-23 errors-152 total attacks) team hitting percentage. Ohio outblocked Marshall, 10-4, but was plagued by 12 service errors.
JIMERSON NAMED MAC EAST DIVISION OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Sophomore middle blocker Tia Jimerson (Sugar Hill, Ga.) was named the Mid-American Conference East Division Offensive Player of the Week, as announced by the league office on Tuesday (Sept. 4).
Jimerson became the first Bobcat to earn conference weekly award honors in 2018 and earned MAC East Division Offensive Player of the Week recognition for the third time in her career.
Jimerson helped the Bobcats go 1-2 at the Ameritas Players Challenge in Lincoln, Neb., last weekend. Ohio fell to then-No. 5-ranked Nebraska, 3-0 (25-17, 25-14, 25-17), then suffered a 3-0 (29-27, 25-18, 25-20) setback to Santa Clara on Friday (Aug. 31). The Bobcats closed out the weekend on a high note, sweeping Wake Forest, 3-0 (25-20, 25-17, 27-25.
Jimerson hit a team-best .409 with a team-high 24 kills (2.67 per game). She also ranked second on the squad with 10 total blocks (10 assisted; 1.11 per set), helping her lead the team with 30 points (3.33 per set). Jimerson hit .429 with eight kills and also chipped in three assisted blocks last Friday as the Bobcats fell to Santa Clara. On Saturday, Jimerson tied for the match lead with 11 kills and hit .529 as Ohio swept Wake Forest. She also led the match with four assisted blocks.
NOT IN HER HOUSE
Redshirt junior middle blocker Simone Miller (Kalamazoo, Mich.) led Ohio with 11 total blocks (one solo, 10 assisted; 1.22 per set) last weekend at the Ameritas Players Challenge. Miller posted a team-high four assisted blocks in the Bobcats' loss to No. 5 Nebraska on Friday. Later that day, she led the match with four total blocks (one solo, three assisted) in a 3-0 setback to Santa Clara. Miller closed out the weekend by tying for second on the team with three assisted in blocks in Ohio's sweep of Wake Forest.
Miller followed up her big weekend by matching her career high with seven total blocks (seven assisted) at Marshall. She has now posted five or more total blocks seven times in her career.
BOBCATS GO 1-2 AT SPORTS IMPORTS CLASSIC TO OPEN 2018
Ohio began the 2018 campaign by going 1-2 at the Sports Imports Classic two weeks ago in Columbus. Sophomore setter Vera Giacomazzi (San Vendemiano, Italy) dished out a match-high 49 assists. She represented Ohio on the All-Sports Imports Classic Team after finishing the weekend with 94 assists (8.55 per set).
The Bobcats are coming off of a 2017 season that saw Ohio go 17-15 -- including a 10-6 mark in MAC play. Ohio earned the No. 4 seed in the 2017 MAC Championship and a bye to the tournament quarterfinals. Ohio topped Eastern Michigan, 3-1, to advance to the league tournament semifinals for the 16th year in a row.
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.
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 seven matches in 2018, Stephens ranks third on the team in kills (56; 2.33 per set) and service aces (five; 0.21 per set).
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 seven matches in 2018, Giacomazzi leads Ohio with 168 assists per set (7.00 per set).
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.
Through seven matches in 2018, Jimerson is tied for the team lead with 19 total blocks (19 assisted; 0.95 per set) and ranks second on the squad with 60 kills (3.00 per set).
Stephens will join Kosiorek and redshirt senior right side hitter Katie Nelson (Regina, Saskatchewan) as Ohio volleyball's team 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.
THE DEANE OF OHIO VOLLEYBALL
Deane Webb is in his fifth year as the head coach of the Ohio volleyball program in 2018. The Bobcats have gone 83-48 (.634) under the direction of Webb. -- including 50-14 (.781) 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 453-264 (.632) over 21-plus seasons -- including 312-204 (.605) over 17-plus seasons at the NCAA Division I level.
MEET THE COACHING STAFF
Ohio's bench features a coaching staff with both familiar and new faces. Joining Webb for a fifth season in Athens is assistant coach Maggie Couture. Rodnei Santos is in his second year as an assistant coach on Webb's staff. Laura Santos moves from the director of operations role to the volunteer assistant coach spot for her second season with the Bobcats. New to the Ohio coaching staff this year are director of operations Adam Kuntz and graduate manager/technical coordinator Andy Rynd.
SCHEDULE AT A GLANCE
The Bobcats' 29-match regular season slate is highlighted by four non-conference tournaments, 11 home matches at the Convocation Center and 16 MAC matchups. The Bobcats will battle six teams that ranked in the top 100 of the Ratings Percentage Index (RPI) in 2017 and three 2017 NCAA Championship qualifiers -- including defending national champion Nebraska, regional semifinalist Missouri and MAC archrival Miami.
FOR THE RECORD
As a team, the 2017 squad's 183 service aces rank as the fourth-most in the rally scoring era in program history while its 1.50 service aces per set and 4,531 attacks both rank sixth, its 1,940 digs rank seventh and its 15.90 digs per set rank 10th.
The Bobcats welcome back 13 of the 2017 team's 15 student-athletes.
In addition to Giacomazzi, Howe, Jimerson, Kosiorek, Miller, Nelson and Stephens, redshirt freshman middle blocker Dahlias Bouyer (Brownstown, Mich.), junior middle blocker Sara Januszewski (Oak Creek, Wis.), senior right side hitter Stephanie Olman (Maumee, Ohio), sophomore libero/defensive specialist Macy Reihing (Lexington, Ky.), redshirt junior outside hitter Carley Remmers (Filley, Neb.) and junior outside hitter/defensive specialist Allyson Vaughn (Glenview, Ill.) are all back for Ohio in 2018.
READY FOR A COMEBACK
Bouyer, Kosiorek, Miller and Nelson 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 3,364 total attacks rank seventh overall in program history and fifth in the rally scoring era. Her 126 service aces are eighth overall in program history and third in the rally scoring era. Her 0.34 service aces per set rank third in the rally scoring era in program history. Her 1,099 kills rank ninth in the rally scoring era in program history. Her 2.99 kills per set rank 10th in the rally scoring era in program history. Her 1,295.0 points rank 10th in the rally scoring era in program history. Her 3.52 points per set are tied for eighth in the rally scoring era in program history.
Through seven matches in 2018, Kosiorek leads Ohio with 61 kills (2.54 per set) and is tied for the team lead with six service aces (0.26 per set).
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 seven matches in 2018, Nelson is tied for the team lead with 19 total blocks (19 assisted; 0.83 per set) and ranks fourth on the squad with 34 kills (1.48 per set).
Miller ranked third on the team with a career-high 49 total blocks (10 solo, 39 assisted; 0.98 per set) in 2016.
With the squad plagued by injuries to key players, several Bobcats rose to the occasion to help keep Ohio competitive in 2017.
Olman ranked third on the team with a career-high 203 kills (1.95 per set) and posted double-digit kills a career-high nine times.
Januszewski totaled a career-high 158 kills (1.48 per set) to rank fourth on the team and posted double-digit kills three times. She also compiled a career-high 80 total blocks (nine solo, 71 assisted; 0.75 per set) to rank second on the team and posted five or more total blocks five times.
Vaughn ranked fourth on the team with a career-high 23 service aces (0.20 per set). She also tallied three or more service aces on two occasions.
Howe ranked fourth on the team with a career-high 275 digs (2.46 per set) and tallied double-digit digs on a career-high 15 occasions. She also ranked second on the team with a career-high 27 service aces (0.24 per set).
Remmers totaled a career-high 110 kills (1.43 per set) to rank fifth on the team and posted double-digit kills once. She also tallied a career-high 199 digs (2.58 per set) to rank fifth on the team and Posted double-digits 12 times -- including 20 or more once.
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 seven matches in 2018, Reihing leads the team with 76 digs (3.30 per set).
WELCOME TO ATHENS
New to the Ohio volleyball program in 2018 are five true freshmen -- outside hitter Ila Angermeier (Kirtland, Ohio), defensive specialist Virginia Natale (Garrettsville, Ohio), outside hitter/right side hitter Lauren Park(Millersburg, Ohio), setter Kyra Slavik (Saint Charles, Ill.) and defensive specialist/setter Emily Walsh (Allen, Texas).
Angermeier was a three-year starter at Lake Catholic High School, serving Served as a senior team captain for the nationally ranked Cougars in 2017 and helping to lead the squad to a second-straight Ohio High School Athletic Association Final Four berth after an undefeated regular season. She was a Second Team All-Ohio selection and earned both First Team Division II and First Team North Coast League honors for the third year in a row in 2017.
Natale was a varsity starter and three-year letterwinner at Walsh Jesuit High School. She owned a career serving percentage of 93% and helped lead the Cavaliers to four Ohio High School Athletic Association Division I district titles (2014-17) and Division I regional runner up finishes in 2016 and '17.
Park was a four-year starter at West Holmes High School, compiling the eighth-most kills in Ohio High School Athletic Association history with 1,634 over her four-year career. She garnered First Team All-Ohio honors as both a senior in 2017 and a junior in '16 after earning Second Team honors in '15.
Park was named to the All-Ameritas Players Challenge Team after hitting .267 with 15 kills (2.14 per set).
Slavik was a three-year letterwinner at Saint Charles East High School and was an All-Illinois selection in 2017 after changing from setter to right side hitter due to team injuries, leading the Fighting Saints to their first regional win since '14 and an appearance in the sectional finals as team captain.
Slavik currently ranks second on the team with 47 assists (3.62 per set).
Walsh was a Four-year letterwinner at Allen High School and Earned Honorable Mention All-District 6-6A honors as both a junior in 2016 and a senior in '17.
SCOUTING THE OPPOSITION: SAMFORD
The Bobcats earned an exciting 3-2 victory over the host Bulldogs on the opening weekend of the 2017 campaign in the Courtyard By Marriott Invitational in Birmingham, Ala., in the lone previous meeting between the two programs.
Samford enters the weekend with a record of 2-5 after dropping all four matches at the Mississippi Invitational last weekend in Oxford, Miss.
Keylor Chan is in his second season as the head coach of the Bulldogs.
Freshman outside hitter Lauren Deaton enters the weekend leading Samford with 62 kills (3.26 per set) while junior middle blocker Shayla Phillip leads the Bulldogs with 15 total blocks (three solo, 12 assisted; 0.83 per set).
SCOUTING THE OPPOSITION: VIRGINIA TECH
Ohio is set to take on Virginia Tech for the second time in the last three seasons. The Bobcats are a perfect 5-0 all-time against the Hokies. Ohio topped the host Virginia Tech in a five-set thriller in Blacksburg, Va., in 2016 in the Hokie Invitational.
The Hokies will be putting their perfect 6-0 record on the line this weekend. Virginia Tech swept both William & Mary and Campbell and beat Robert Morris in four sets last weekend at the Hokie Invitational.
Jill Wilson is in her second year as head coach at Virginia Tech.
Sophomore outside hitter Kaity Smith is leading the way for the Hokies with 76 kills (3.62 per set). Sophomore outside hitter Ester Talamazzi has totaled a team-high 15 service aces (0.71 per set). Sophomore middle blocker/outside hitter Marisa Cerchio leads Virginia Tech with 27 total blocks (two solo, 25 assisted; 1.29 per set) while senior right side hitter Jaila Tolbert is right behind her with 20 total blocks (20 assisted; 0.95 per set).
SCOUTING THE OPPOSITION: IUPUI
Ohio will be in search of its first victory in four tries against IUPUI on Saturday.
The Jaguars bring a 2-5 record into the Bobcat Invitational after going 1-2 last weekend at the IUPUI Hampton Inn Invitational, sweeping SIUE but suffering a four-set loss to Western Michigan and a three-set loss to Northern Arizona.
Steve Payne has been at the helm of the Jaguars for 22 years.
Senior defensive specialist/setter Maggie Gibson leads IUPUI with 83 kills (3.46 per set) while junior middle blocker Haley Hoffman has racked up a team-high 27 total blocks (six solo, 21 assisted; 1.12 per set).
Ohio's final non-conference tournament takes the Bobcats to Columbia, Mo., for the Mizzou Invitational (Sept. 14-15). The Bobcats will battle Drake and Texas A&M-Corpus Christi next Friday (Sept. 14) before squaring off with tournament host Missouri on Saturday (Sept. 15).