The Ohio University girls’ volleyball team celebrate after scoring against Western Michigan on October 22, 2016. (Robert McGraw/WOUB)

Ohio Volleyball Takes One Out of Three at Jefferson Cup

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This weekend, the Ohio volleyball team (7-5) traveled south to compete for the Jefferson Cup in Charlottesville, Virginia for their third invitational of the season. Despite winning the first of their three matches, the Bobcats would fail to take any more sets in their final two matchups, finishing 1-2 in the tournament.

The team took Friday’s opener with a 3-1 (25-19, 17-25, 25-21, 25-23) victory over Howard (2-8) in a match that was certainly much closer, despite the result. After taking the first set, finishing on a 6-2 run, the Bison would bounce back for the second set holding OU to a .067 hitting percentage. By, tallying up only nine kills and seven errors, Howard would lead for the entire set, making it 1-1 halfway through. Despite trailing early in the third set by three, the Bobcats quickly pushed ahead of the Bison, with freshman middle blocker Tia Jimerson leading the way on five kills and two blocks, coupled with two service aces from sophomore outside hitter Allyson Vaughn, taking the third set.

In the game’s finale, it was an even match all the way to the very end. At 21-all, the Bobcats were able to snag a victory off a 4-0 run on back-to-back service errors, along with kills from sophomore middle blocker/outside hitter Sara Januszewski and junior setter/outside hitter Stephanie Olman. OU would finish the match hitting .246, totaling 56 kills and seven service aces. Jimerson would end her day with a team-high 17 kills, mixed in with two digs and assisted blocks.

Unfortunately, the Bobcats were unable to carry the momentum from last night’s win into their Saturday morning matchup with VCU (9-2), falling to the Rams in three quick sets (25-11, 25-12, 25-22). OU were certainly feeling the pressure early on after falling in the first set by a margin of 14. VCU were a powerhouse offensively, hitting .500 with 10 kills in the first set, and then adding on another 10 in the following set. After falling to the Rams in the second set by 10, the Bobcats fell to a -.069 hitting percentage, their worst of the season. Fighting on the brink of being swept, the Bobcats’ resiliency certainly showed off in the third set. Stephens and Jimerson led the way with three kills apiece, followed closely by senior middle blocker Ali Lake who had two. However, the Rams would finish out on a 7-2 run, completing the sweep.

In the third and final match of the Jefferson Cup, the Ohio volleyball team would face off against tournament host Virginia (4-5), who were looking for their first win of the weekend. While the Bobcats did make it close in every set (27-25, 25-21, 25-17), the luck just wasn’t on their side, resulting in their second straight sweep this season. In the first set, OU had as 25-24 lead, but were unable to secure the set point. Two kills and one service ace from the Cavaliers would be enough to complete the comeback, giving them a 1-0 lead. In the following set, OU would once again find themselves on the brink of their first set of the day, trailing 21-22. Virginia would close it out once again, taking the second set, and eventually the third by a margin of eight. The Bobcats would finish the game with hitting .118 (32 kills-19 errors-110 total) with a strong performance coming from Stephens with 12 kills and three service aces.

By the end of the weekend, the Bobcats would finish hitting .115 (117 kills-71 errors-355 total attacks) Stephens led the Bobcats with 36 kills, 31 digs, and four services, followed closely by Jimerson with 33 kills and six digs.

The Ohio volleyball team will travel to University Park, Pennsylvania, as part of the Penn State Classic next weekend, taking on Wake Forest (7-2), Yale (4-2), and #3 Penn State (7-0).