Sophomore Katie Nelson serves the ball to Western Michigan on October 22, 2106. (Robert McGraw/WOUB)

Ohio Volleyball Defeats Akron in League Play

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After losing six straight, four of them being sweeps, the Ohio volleyball team (7-9, 1-1 MAC) have been looking for some kind of answer these last three weeks. The team, who had just been defeated by Buffalo the night before, were given another opportunity, this time against East Division rival Akron (5-9, 1-1 MAC), who were coming off their first conference win against Kent State on Friday.

In the end, it would be the Bobcats who’d come out of the James A. Rhodes Arena victorious, taking the match in four sets and earning them their first win in league play this season.

In their match against Buffalo the night before, it was Sophomore outside hitter Lizzie Stephens and Freshman middle blocker Tia Jimerson who’d led the team with 13 kills apiece. Tonight, it was the same old story, with Stephens getting the first started on her first of many kills. Despite a relatively close match early on, OU quickly took matters into their own hand, pulling away after going on a 9-2 run which came as a result of efforts from redshirt Senior Ali Lake who knocked in three kills, another two from both Jimerson and Junior setter/outside hitter Stephanie Olman, as well as a service ace from Sophomore libero Meredith Howe. From there, the Zips had no chance for a comeback, falling to OU in the first set, 25-15.

The Zips had no problem responding back in the second set, keeping their distance from OU for nearly the entire set. The Bobcat’s offense was locked down, tallying up only six kills, committing 10 attack errors and finishing the set with an attack percentage of only -.148. Akron’s Kayla Gwozdz would lead the team with four kills in their second set win, 25-18.

Recently, the Bobcats have often had trouble getting back into games following set losses of that magnitude. In the third set, the Bobcat’s got things started early, pulling away quickly off an 8-4 run in the beginning following back-to-back service aces from Stephens, a pair of kills from Lake and another kill from Sophomore middle blocker/outside hitter Sara Januszewski. From there, the Zips would make sure not to fall behind like in the first set, slowly making their comeback. At 22-all, it was OU who would take over, in the end, thanks to back to back kills from Jimerson and Januszewski, followed by a kill from Stephens who’d put the nail in the coffin, giving the Bobcats a 2-1 advantage on a 25-23 third set victory.

The fourth set of the match remained close in the beginning with both teams trading points all the way until 10-all. At that point, however, OU would go on a frenzy offensively, going on an 8-2 run and pulling ahead by a score of 18-12. Just like the third set, the Zips would slowly begin to make their comeback, coming within one after OU’s attack errors began to catch up to them. With the Bobcats up 24-23, it was none other than Tia Jimerson who delivered the final blow with a match point kill, giving the team their first win in league play.

Once again, the team was led offensively Stephens who finished with a match-high 19 kills and a pair of service aces, along with Jimerson who ended her night with 16 kills along with four blocks and hitting .609. Lake also reached her season-high on Saturday night with 11 kills, as well as Olman who finished with nine. It is also worth mentioning that Freshman setter Vera Giacomazzi led the team with 53 assists. She has been a huge factor for the Bobcats this season, who now has 583 of the team’s 683 total assists.

The Bobcats, who now improve to 7-9 for the season, still sit comfortably in third place in the MAC East. This may change, however, when the team hosts second-place East Division rivals Miami (OH) (9-6), next Friday at the Convo.