Box Score (PDF)
OXFORD, Ohio -- The No. 7-seeded Ohio volleyball team (13-18) saw its season come to an end tonight in a tough 3-2 (25-14, 23-25, 25-23, 22-25, 15-12) loss to No. 3-seeded Ball State (22-8) in the 2018 Mid-American Conference Championship Quarterfinal match at Millett Hall.
The Bobcats rebounded from an 11-point loss in the opening set to force the match to go five but could not quite overcome 30 attack errors and 10 service errors.
Senior right side hitter Stephanie Olman (Maumee, Ohio) hit .306 with a career-high 21 kills to lead Ohio in her final match as a Bobcat. Junior outside hitter Lizzie Stephens (Dallas, Texas) her eighth double-double of the season with 18 kills and 14 digs. In her final match as a Bobcat, redshirt senior outside hitter Jaime Kosiorek (Chagrin Falls, Ohio) recorded 15 kills and a team-high two service aces, finishing her collegiate career with 1,380 kills (seventh-most in Ohio history), 173 service aces (third-most in Ohio history) and 1,641.5 points (eighth-most in Ohio history). She played in 127 matches and 461 sets in her Ohio career, ranking seventh and third, respectively, in the history of the program. Sophomore middle blocker Tia Jimerson (Sugar Hill, Ga.) recorded 10 kills and three total blocks (two solo, one assisted). Redshirt junior middle blocker Simone Miller (Kalamazoo, Mich.) led Ohio with six total blocks (four solo, two assisted). Sophomore setter Vera Giacomazzi (San Vendemiano, Italy) dished out a season-high 61 assists to lead the match. Sophomore libero/defensive specialist Macy Reihing (Lexington, Ky.) led the match with 19 digs.
"What I was impressed with in the fifth set is that we chose to aggressive," said fifth-year head coach Deane Webb. "This year, there has been so many times that we chose to be passive in the fifth set and let other teams really have their way. We had 10 kills out of our 12 points. We were scoring our own points. We had some errors that we shouldn't have had in there. But, I would always rather go out being aggressive, trying to force the action, than just being passive and letting another team taking big, big swings over and over at us."
Senior outside hitter Ellie Dunn hit .314 for the match and led Ball State with 19 kills. She also totaled two service aces and achieved a double-double with 11 digs. Redshirt senior middle hitter Meg Starling hit .357 with 12 kills and led the match with eight total blocks (one solo, seven assisted). Graduate student opposite Jessica Lindsey posted 11 kills and three assisted blocks while junior middle hitter Sydnee VanBeek added 10 kills and six total blocks (one solo, five assisted). Freshman right side/middle Reece Kral recorded nine kills and five assisted blocks. Junior setter Amber Seaman distributed a team-high 54 assists and achieved a double-double with a team-high 15 digs. Junior defensive specialist Kate Avila also tallied double-digit digs, recording 11.
Ball State hit .448 with 13 kills and no errors on its way to a 25-14 win in the first set. The next three sets were decided by three points or less, however, with Ohio taking two of them to push the match to five sets.
In the second set, Stephens provided the Bobcats with a team-high five kills en route to a two-point victory. A kill by Stephens broke a 19-all tie and gave the Bobcats a lead they did not relinquish the remainder of the set. Back-to-back kills by Olman and a kill by Miller helped Ohio extend its lead to 24-21. A kill and a service ace by Dunn made it a one-point set, but another kill by Olman allowed Ohio to even the match.
The third set was another back-and-forth battle late, with Ohio taking a 23-21 advantage after a kill by Olman and a double block by Jimerson and Kosiorek. That's as close as the Bobcats got to taking control of the match, though, as a kill by Lindsey, an Ohio attack error and a kill by Kral put the Cardinals up 2-1 in the match.
The Bobcats hit a match-best .286 in the fourth set while limiting Ball State to a .170 hitting percentage. Ohio came out firing, with kills by Olman and Miller and a solo block by Miller giving the Bobcats a quick 5-1 lead. Ball State retaliated with a 6-1 run to take a 7-6 lead, but two kills apiece by Jimerson and Stephens and a kill by Olman helped put Ohio back in front, 14-10. The Cardinals tied the score with four-straight points, but a 6-1 run by the Bobcats that featured three kills by Olman, a kill by Kosiorek and solo blocks by Miller and Jimerson helped Ohio regain command. A 5-1 Ball State run made it a one-point set, but the Bobcats forced the fifth and deciding set thanks to a kill and a service ace by Kosiorek and two kills by Stephens.
Ball State grabbed a 9-6 advantage in the fifth thanks in large part to three kills by Starling. Ohio responded with a 6-4 stretch that saw Olman tally two kills and Kosiorek and Stephens each record one, but the Cardinals ended Ohio's season with a double block by Starling and Kral and a service ace by Avila.
The Cardinals will now face No. 2-seeded Miami on Saturday (Nov. 17) at 7 p.m. in the league semifinals. The other matchup in the conference semis will feature No. 1-seeded Bowling Green taking on No. 5-seeded Eastern Michigan at 4:30 p.m. The winners of the two matches will square off in the 2018 MAC Championship Final at 4:30 p.m. on Sunday (Nov. 18).