Volleyball: Former Players Return to Athens for Alumni Game

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Ohio Volleyball welcomed back thirteen alumni players on Saturday for its final match of the year, and it wasn’t exactly “out with the old, in with the new.” The “New” Bobcats may have won the match 2-1, but the “Old” didn’t go down without a fight.

The Alumni Team came out full speed ahead during the final set, after losing the first two sets (25-20, 25-17) to the current Bobcats. The alumni mostly dominated the final set, winning 25-14.

“It makes sense that by game three they had kind of worked through all the bad plays and were playing pretty well,” Head Coach Ryan Theis said.

Among the returners were All-American player Laura (Hageman) Cobb, who was the day’s eldest returner, last playing in the 2003 season. Unable to play due to a foot injury, she still came out to show her support, and cheer on the “Old” team.

The alumni team had many other award-winning players, including two other AVCA All-American awards, six AVCA all-region awards, four MAC Player of the Year awards, 16 All-MAC awards, three MAC Tournament MVP's and 10 Academic All-MAC honors.

Katie Post, who just finished her last season as a Bobcat this year, was also on the other side of the net.

Also returning to Athens was Ellen Herman, who last played for the Bobcats in their 2009 season. Herman is now a professional player in Switzerland and she made the journey back to the States to join in the fun of the evening’s game.

“I’ve been back and forth a couple times, but this is actually the first time where I get to see everybody,” Herman said. “It was so much fun to come back and play… it seems like yesterday we just saw each other.”

The “Old” team played as if they had never left each other. It took them one game to warm up, but once the second set started, the alumni team found its rhythm and pulled off the third set win.

Even with the competitive nature of the game, players on both sides of the net were able to enjoy the match.

The alumni were announced wearing stick-on mustaches, keeping the mood light-hearted and fun. Even the scoreboard was kept humorous, displaying the team names “New” and “Old.”

Bobcat volleyball announcer Lou Horvath said his favorite part of the alumni game was getting to bring back the players’ old nicknames, for which he is known for giving out. 

“Getting a chance to go through that kind of rekindling with what happened before and bringing it up to date and merging it and meshing it with the kids we have today was great,” said Horvath. “It gives them a sense of legacy as well.”

An alumni game is not played every year, as Coach Theis explained. This is his first since taking over as head coach in March 2008.

“If we tried to do it every year we wouldn’t have as much luck,” he said about the successful turnout of alumni for the match. “It’s fun to have them all back, they’re a fun group.”

Junior setter Leah Petrovich appreciated being able to play against the alumni this year saying, “To play against them again and play with them again it was really cool.”