Lizzie Stephens and Ohio made quick work of IUPUI in 4 sets Saturday afternoon. | Alex Williams WOUB

Ohio Volleyball: OHIO closes out Bobcat Invitational with win

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ATHENS, OH — The Ohio Bobcats (4-6) returned to winning ways taking a four-set battle over IUPUI (2-8) 25-15, 17-25, 25-17, 25-21 in the final game of the Bobcat Invitational this Saturday afternoon at the Convocation Center.

The Bobcats split the first two games of the tournament on Friday, but Saturday, they were able to come out on top. After starting the year 2-5 in tough out-of-conference games — all seven away from home, the Bobcats went 2-1 in their return home for the first time all season.

The Bobcats were led by consistent performances across the board, three players had double-digit kills in the win. Outside Hitter Lizzie Stephens led the Bobcats offense with 12 kills, while Right Side Hitter Katie Nelson and Outside Hitter Jaime Kosiorek had 11 and 10 respectively. Server Vera Giacomazzi had a big game —  her 26 assists led the Bobcats, while Server Kyra Slavik helped out with 16.

Freshman Middle Blocker Dahlias Bouyer was impressive defensively for the Bobcats in her first career start. Bouyer was coming off an injury last year so head coach Deane Webb was happy to get her eased back into game speed.

 “This was the perfect opponent for her,” Webb said.  “It had to be against an opponent who didn’t run their middle a lot this limited the amount of decisions she had to make and to get seven blocks in your first college start was outstanding.”

Back row defensively was a group effort for the Bobcats, Libero Macy Reihing had 18 digs, but she got help from Stephens, Slavik, and Kosiorek who combined for 34 digs —  those four alone for Ohio were more than enough to outdig the Jaguars 68 to 52 for the game.

Ohio played IUPUI in one of three games apart of the Bobcat Invitational. | Alex Williams WOUB

Ohio dominated the first set over IUPUI 25-15. Kosiorek paced the Bobcats with four first set kills and three digs. Ohio’s defense was also impressive in the set, holding the Jaguars to a .114 hit % in the set thanks to 18 first set digs —  six by Reihing. Ohio also had a 3-0 ace advantage in the opening set, with two of those aces coming from Stephens.

IUPUI took the second set from the Bobcats 25-17. This was more of a back and forth affair, however after a 16-16 tie, IUPUI scored eight straight points to take complete control. Ohio struggled all set offensively, having a .034 hit % for the set. Their defense was also held without a block for the entire set. IUPUI also had a very clean set, only making one error compared to the Bobcats eight.

Ohio fought back in the third and took the set 25-17. Nelson was huge in the set having five kills, helping the Bobcat offense after a slow second set. It was all about just going back to the basics

 “Little adjustments were made,” Webb said. “I told them to stop hitting the ball out of bounds.”

The Bobcats responded, as they lowered their errors from eight the previous set to two in the third set. Bouyer had a big set around the net, having three blocks and a kill.  Stephens also played a more defensive role in the set, after six kills in the first two sets she had two this time, but had six digs for the Bobcats defensively.

The Bobcats finished the game off with a decisive fourth set win over the Jaguars 25-21. Ohio benefited from nine Jaguar errors, the most they had all match. Lizzie Stephens had four kills in the set, and Giacomazzi had seven assists — she had exactly seven assists in each of the sets the Bobcats won. Ohio managed to win this set despite the fact they only had a .143 hit %.

The Bobcats return to action September 14th in Columbia, Missouri where they will compete in the Mizzou invitational to play Drake, Missouri and Texas A&M-Corpus Christi. Kosiorek and the ‘Cats hope to come out of the tournament ready to roll in MAC play.

 “Leaving Missouri on a good note would leave us confident going into MAC play,” Kosiorek said. “It’s not a secret that we got picked top of the MAC, and we’re ready for everyone’s best shot.”

The Bobcats are back in action next Friday against Drake at 2:30 p.m. and then open up MAC play on September 20th against Kent State at the Convocation Center.