BOWLING GREEN, Ohio – The Ohio volleyball team (18-12, 9-7 MAC) advanced to the quarterfinals of the Mid-American Conference Volleyball Championship on Thursday evening after taking down Kent State (14-14, 7-9 MAC), 3-2 (25-14, 19-25, 25-23, 22-25, 15-12), in the first round of the MAC Tournament at the Stroh Center.
"It was an absolute grind from start to finish," head coach Deane Webb said. "It was a tough one. It was tough to get through, but sometimes in postseason you need one of those. Sometimes you have to survive one where you aren't playing your best and move onto the next round and hopefully get a little better as the tournament goes on."
Ohio was led by junior opposite Maggie Nedoma (Brook Park, Ohio) who had 15 kills. Junior middle blocker Tia Jimerson (Sugar Hill, Ga.) had 12 hammers while sophomore outside hitter Lauren Park (Millersburg, Ohio) had 11. Freshman outside hitter Olivia Margolies (Galena, Ohio) also hit double-digit hammers with 10 on 32 swings. Redshirt sophomore middle blocker Dahlias Bouyer (Brownstown, Mich.) had eight kills on a team-best .294 attacking clip.
Junior setter Vera Giacomazzi (San Vendemiano, Italy) had her 18th double-double of the season after posting 49 kills and 21 digs, which tied her career-high. Giacomazzi helped Ohio record 58 kills in the win.
After Giacomazzi's match-high 21 digs, she was followed by junior libero Macy Reihing (Lexington, Ky.) had 17 scoops. Senior defensive specialist Meredith Howe (Grand Rapids, Mich.) had 14 while Ohio posted 86 as a team.
Ohio's 19 blocks were the highest block total this season. Bouyer led the way with nine blocks while Giacomazzi added seven. Bouyer tied her career high which she set against Temple earlier this season. Giacomazzi also tied a career high, which she set against Kansas State. Jimerson posted eight (three solo, five assisted) stuffs while Margolies and Nedoma had four a piece.
Nedoma had two aces while Reihing had one.
Ohio took a 1-0 lead after winning the first set, 25-14. Ohio held KSU to -.062 attacking and had seven kills in the set. Ohio started the match 5-0 but KSU tied the match at 7-7. Ohio was able to extend the lead to 15-9 after a couple Nedoma hammers. Ohio led by 19-11 after an error and Ohio won the set on a service error from Gracey Jarecke of KSU.
OU improved its hitting and had 15 kills in the second set but lost, 25-19. In the third set, Ohio took home a 25-23 win while hitting .220 with 17 kills. Nedoma started the set with a hammer and a solo stuff from Jimerson to go up 2-0. Ohio extended its lead to 6-2 on a Park kill, and Ohio maintained around a three point lead until KSU took a lead at 18-17. Park tied the set at 18-18 on a kill and Nedoma grabbed Ohio the advantage. Ohio jumped out to a 21-18 lead on another Nedoma kill. KSU got the lead down to 24-23, but Margolies won the set with a kill after an assist from Giacomazzi.
Ohio dropped the fourth set 25-22 after 12 kills on a .114 attacking clip. KSU and Ohio went back-and-forth until 5-5 when Park gave Ohio the lead. OU went up 7-5 on an error. After one KSU kill, Ohio jumped out to a 12-7 on a 5-0 run. KSU chipped away and cut the Ohio lead to one, but a pair of blocks from Bouyer and Nedoma put Ohio up 14-11. Nedoma won the match for Ohio at 15-12.
The Bobcats will compete against No. 4 Ball State in the quarterfinals tomorrow (Nov. 22). First serve is set for 4:30 p.m. at the Stroh Center on the campus of Bowling Green State University. The match will be shown live on ESPN+ and streamed live on OhioBobcats.com with 'Voice of Ohio Volleyball' Jake Hromada.