Box Score (PDF)
ATHENS, Ohio-- The Ohio volleyball team (7-9, 2-1 MAC) fell to Buffalo (9-6, 1-2 MAC), 3-2, (25-22, 17-25, 22-25, 26-24,15-9), tonight at the Convocation Center to begin its second weekend of 2018 Mid-American Conference play.
Junior outside hitter Lizzie Stephens (Dallas, Texas) and redshirt senior outside hitter Jaime Kosiorek (Chagrin Falls, Ohio) each registered a team-high 15 kills to lead the Bobcats. Stephens also recorded a double-double with 13 compiled digs and tallied a team-high two service aces. Kosiorek was one dig away from a double-double with nine recorded digs. Followed closely behind, redshirt senior right side hitter Katie Nelson (Regina, Saskatchewan) and junior middle blocker Sara Januszewski (Oak Creek, Wis.) both compiled 11 kills for the Bobcats while redshirt junior middle blocker Simone Miller (Kalamazoo, Mich.) registered a match-high five assisted blocks for the Bobcats. Nelson also added four assisted blocks. Sophomore setter Vera Giacomazzi (San Vendemiano, Italy) registered a match-high 53 assists while sophomore libero/defensive specialist Macy Reihing (Lexington, Kentucky) recorded a match-high 24 digs. Junior libero/defensive specialist Meredith Howe (Grand Rapids, Mich.) chipped in 12 digs.
The opening set began with aggressive attacking by both Ohio and Buffalo, with 15 of the first 20 points being scored on kills. Both teams battled point-for-point until a five-point run resulted in a 13-7 lead for Buffalo and an Ohio timeout. Stephens, Januszewski and Nelson combined for four kills alongside a service ace from Howe in an Ohio effort to battle back to within three, 17-14, midway through the first set. However, the Bulls outscored the Bobcats by a 4-1 count to regain a six-point lead, 21-15, late in the set. Nelson and Miller tallied three assisted blocks, and Giacomazzi, Kosiorek, Stephens and Januszewski each tallied kills for the Bobcats in a late push to get within two of the Bulls, 23-21. Unfortunately for Ohio, Buffalo scored the next two of three points to secure a first set victory, 25-22.
A service ace by Kosiorek to begin the second set fueled the Bobcats to a 6-3 lead. Kills from Nelson and Januszewski combined with the presence of the Bobcat defense forced consecutive errors by the Bulls and increased the lead to 10-3 for Ohio. Another pair of kills from Kosiorek and Giacomazzi further spread the score for a 13-5 Bobcat lead. In an effort to fight back, the Bulls outscored the Bobcats 7-4, but the Bobcats notched 13 kills on 32 total attempts for a .406 kill percentage. Another Ohio service ace from freshman defensive specialist/setter Emily Walsh (Allen, Texas) gave Ohio the second set victory, 25-17.
With the match even at one set apiece, Buffalo grabbed an early 4-1 lead, but two kills by Januszewski and kills by Kosiorek and Miller landed the two teams at an eight-all tie. Two kills and a service ace from Stephens and another kill and an assisted block from Nelson developed a 7-3 run that gave Ohio a 15-11 lead midway through the third set. With two more registered kills from Nelson and one apiece from Kosiorek and Miller, coupled with the additional pressure from a service ace by Stephens, forced a Buffalo timeout at 23-17. The Bulls responded out of the timeout, outscoring Ohio, 5-1 and forcing a Bobcat timeout at 24-22. A service error by Buffalo out of the timeout, however, resulted in a 25-22 Ohio third set win.
Under pressure down 2-1, the Bulls went on a 6-2 run after an early 4-4 tied score. The Bobcats and the Bulls traded points throughout the fourth set, forcing an Ohio timeout down 19-15. Stephens and Nelson were able to string two points together on two kills out of that timeout to bring the Bobcats within two, 19-17. A kill from Kosiorek paired with a kill from Stephens brought Ohio and Buffalo to a tied score of 21-all forcing a timeout by the Bulls. Another kill by Kosiorek gave Ohio its first lead since 5-4 early in the fourth set, 22-21. The Bulls were able to string a couple points together and brought the two teams to another tie at 24-all. A block followed by a service ace allowed the Bulls to win set four, 26-24.
In a race to 15 in the fifth set, the Bulls came out aggressive, jumping to an early 5-2 lead that forced an Ohio timeout. Januszewski and Stephens combined for a pair of kills that forced a Buffalo timeout with the score sitting at 6-5 in favor of the Bulls. Januszewski added her 11th kill of the match to tie the set at six-all. After two consecutive Bulls points, Januszewski added a solo block to bring Ohio back within one. Buffalo strung together a kill, a service ace and a block to extend the lead to 11-7, however. A kill by Kosiorek was answered with a 4-1 Bulls run, resulting in a 15-9 fifth-set victory and a match win for Buffalo.
"We made several decisions that were pretty poor all phases," said fifth-year head coach Deane Webb of the loss in the fifth set. "That's just something that we have to do a better job of training that to help them make the right decisions at the right time. We had some mismatches that we didn't take advantage of."
Sophomore outside hitter Andrea Mitrovic recorded a match-high 25 kills while senior middle blocker Megan Wernette registered 12 for the Bulls. Junior setter Scout McLerran registered a double-double with a team-high 47 assists and 14 digs for Buffalo. She also matched Mutrovic for the team lead with three total blocks (one solo, two assisted). Senior libero/defensive specialist Larra Bickelhaupt compiled a team-high 17 digs for the Bulls while freshman libero/defensive specialist Paige Beck added 15.
Ohio will look to bounce back on Saturday (Sept. 29) when it faces MAC East Division rival Akron (8-6, 0-3 MAC) at 6 p.m. at the Convo. 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.