For more on Ohio Volleyball's senior night victory over Kent State, please check out WOUB Bobcat Sports Showcase reporter Nick Viland's recap of the match.

Ohio Volleyball: Bobcats Take Senior Night Victory Against Kent State

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ATHENS, Ohio (WOUB) — Ohio Volleyball’s Senior Night in the Convocation Center on Tuesday celebrated the career of Vera Giacomazzi, the team’s setter from San Vendemiano, Italy. A touching ceremony before the came culminated in the jumbotron showing a video of Giacomazzi’s family congratulating her all the way from Italy.

As the team took the court against the Kent State Golden Flashes however, Coach Deane Webb expected some rockiness.

“Senior nights are weird a lot of times,” Webb said postgame. “I’ve been blessed to have about 25 years of watching seniors play their last home match, and it’s usually like this. It’s usually kind of sloppy and it’s usually people thinking about a lot of things- you want to honor someone, you want it to be a great day, you want it to be perfect- and this happens.”

Even as the Bobcats (10-7, 10-7) won their fourth of their last five games, dispatching Kent State (12-7, 12-7) in four sets, the outing left a sour taste in Ohio’s mouth, as they struggled with unforced errors throughout the night.

It was a match where the Bobcats were on top of the whole stat sheet, even the categories you’d rather be lower in. Ohio outscored Kent 77-55, and had a superior kill rate of 39% against the Golden Flashes. Alternatively, the Bobcats also racked up errors, including totaling 19 balls hit out of bounds.

“I look at a stat sheet that says that this should’ve been 3-0,” Webb said. “We out-killed them 63-44, that should be a game that’s over a lot quicker but we had some unforced errors, that’s something we’ll clean up.”

The day was not without its bright spots. Four Bobcats- Mariana Rodrigues (fresh off a MAC East Offensive Player of the Week honor), Tia Jimerson, Caitlin O’Farrell, and the emerging Olivia Margolies- tallied double-digit kills, with Rodrigues leading the way with 18. The quartet collectively hit 24% on the night, and accounted for . Macy Reihing put up two service aces and 13 digs, and freshman Sam Steele finished with eight assists and ten digs.

All eyes on Tuesday were on Vera Giacomazzi though, who on her senior night tallied 44 assists, 13 digs and two total blocks. Coach Webb expressed his sentiments for the night despite some self-professed sloppiness

“[Unforced errors are] something that’s on us, we have to improve that,” Webb said. “We’ll get back in the gym and do that, but I am so happy we were able to earn the win tonight for our program- but really earn the win for Vera tonight, let her be honored in the way that she deserves, had an outstanding career and I’m just proud and happy for her that this win could happen tonight.”

(Nick Viland/WOUB)
(Nick Viland/WOUB)

Giocomazzi had similar feelings about the match, and about her special night.

“I was a little tense, you kind of feel the pressure of the game,” Giacomazzi said after the win. “It wasn’t my best performance for sure, but these guys worked a lot and worked hard to make it happen regardless, and it was very emotional at the beginning and very emotional at the end too- walking off the court after the last game at the Convo.”

For Kent State, this game was a missed opportunity to secure qualification to the MAC tournament, as bids to play for the MAC Championship are closely chased by many aspiring MAC squads, Ohio among them. It was an important victory for the Bobcats, who play two away games against the Northern Illinois Huskies to finish out the regular season.

This iteration of the Bobcats, though, has played their final match at the Convocation Center, as the arena bid farewell to one of Ohio Volleyball’s most reliable players over the past four years

“This team was basically my life for the past four years,” Giacomazzi said about her time with the team. “When you move so far away from your family, these people take care of you and you start learning how to take care of them. There’s going to be lows and highs, tears and laughs, but you share everything with them.”