ATHENS, Ohio -- The No. 7-seeded Ohio volleyball team (12-17, 7-9 MAC) will square off against No. 6-seeded Northern Illinois (11-20, 9-7 MAC) in a 2018 Mid-American Conference Championship First Round matchup on Thursday (Nov. 15). The contest will get underway at 7 p.m. from Millett Hall in Oxford, Ohio.
The Bobcats have qualified for the conference tournament for the 17th-year in a row. The winner of Thursday's match will face No. 3-seeded Ball State (21-8, 12-4 MAC) in the Second Round on Friday (Nov. 16) at 7 p.m. The winner of that match earns the right to face No. 2-seeded Miami on Saturday (Nov. 17) at 7 p.m. The 2018 MAC Championship Final will be held on Sunday (Nov. 18) at 4:30 p.m. Bowling Green (19-10, 13-3 MAC) is the tournament's No. 1 seed.
All 2018 MAC Championship matches will be streamed live on ESPN+, with Randy Hollowell and Lisa Dankovich on the call. 'The Voice of Ohio Volleyball' Jake Hromada will also have the call of the Bobcats' league tournament matches on OhioBobcats.com via StretchInternet's GameCentral.
Ohio is 35-8 (.814) all-time in 17 previous MAC Championship appearances -- including a 4-3 mark in four appearances under fifth-year head coach Deane Webb. The Bobcats have won the league tournament crown nine times, with the last coming in 2015. Ohio will be facing Northern Illinois in the conference tournament for the ninth time, with the Bobcats holding a 5-3 edge over the Huskies in the all-time postseason series. The two teams last met in the MAC Championship on Nov. 19, 2016, with Northern Illinois picking up a 3-0 (25-21, 25-16, 25-19) victory in the semifinals.
The Bobcats and the Huskies faced off on Oct. 20 at the Convo in the lone regular season meeting between the two squads, with Northern Illinois edging Ohio, 3-2 (25-23, 25-27, 17-25, 32-30, 15-7). Redshirt senior outside hitter Jaime Kosiorek (Chagrin Falls, Ohio) and junior outside hitter Lizzie Stephens (Dallas, Texas) both achieved double-doubles for the Bobcats. Kosiorek led the team with a tied match-high 24 kills and added 16 digs. Stephens logged 21 kills and 16 digs to go along with six service aces. Sophomore middle blocker Tia Jimerson (Sugar Hill, Ga.) registered 14 kills and a team-high six total blocks (one solo, five assisted) for the Bobcats while redshirt freshman middle blocker Dahlias Bouyer (Brownstown, Mich.) chipped in three total blocks (one solo, two assisted) for the match. Sophomore setter Vera Giacomazzi (Vendemiano, Italy) also achieved a double-double for the Bobcats tallying a team-high 55 assists and 11 digs along with three assisted blocks. Sophomore libero/defensive specialist Macy Reihing (Lexington, Ky.) compiled a team-high 20 digs while junior libero/ defensive specialist Meredith Howe (Grand Rapids, Mich.) added 14 more.