By Mike Ashcraft
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. -- The Ohio volleyball team (6-4) suffered a 3-0 (25-11, 25-12, 25-22) sweep at the hands of VCU (8-2) on Saturday (Sept. 9) at Memorial Gymnasium in the Bobcats' second match of the Jefferson Cup presented by Fairfield Inn & Suites.
Ohio opened the weekend tournament with a 3-1 (25-19, 17-25, 25-21, 25-23) victory over Howard on Friday evening.
The Rams hit at a .321 (33 kills-eight errors-78 total attacks) rate for the match while limiting the Bobcats to a -.019 (29 kills-31 errors-103 total attacks) hitting percentage. VCU dominated at the net, outblocking Ohio by a 15-3 count.
"VCU did a great job putting pressure on our team today on both sides of the ball," said fourth-year head coach Deane Webb. "Our team wasn't prepared to play at the level required to win this match, and that responsibility begins with me as the coach."
VCU set the tone for the match with a 14-point win the first set. The Rams hit .500 with 10 kills. The second set saw the Rams tally 10 more kills and hit at a .350 clip while holding Ohio to a -.069 hitting percentage en route to a 10-point win and a 2-0 lead in the match.
Ohio built a 20-18 lead in the third set thanks to three apiece kills by freshman middle blocker Tia Jimerson (Sugar Hill, Ga.) and sophomore outside hitter Lizzie Stephens (Dallas, Texas) and two apiece by redshirt senior middle blocker Ali Lake (Liberty Township, Ohio) and sophomore middle blocker/outside hitter Sara Januszewski (Oak Creek, Wis.). The Rams rallied, though, using a 7-2 run to close out the sweep. Kills by junior middle blocker Tori Baldwin and senior outside hitter/libero Alica Kandler and double blocks by Baldwin and junior opposite hitter Julia Adler and Baldwin and Kandler allowed VCU to make its final push to victory.
Jimerson led the Bobcats with nine kills and an assisted block. Stephens posted seven kills, an assisted block and a team-high 10 digs. Januszewski logged seven kills, two assisted blocks and a dig. Freshman setter Vera Giacomazzi (San Vendemiano, Italy) distributed a team-high 19 assists and also had four digs.
Kandler led VCU with nine kills and hit .500. She also had two assisted blocks and seven digs. Baldwin notched a match-high eight total blocks (three solo, five assisted) and added seven kills. Sophomore middle blocker Jasmin Sneed logged six total blocks (one solo, five assisted) and also chipped in three kills while hitting .429. Adler finished the match with five total blocks (one solo, four assisted) and three kills. Sophomore outside hitter Vicky Giommarini tallied five kills, three assisted blocks and eight digs. Sophomore opposite hitter Gina Tuzzolo posted a match-high three service aces and also added six kills, an assisted block and two digs. Sophomore setter Dajah Ard led VCU with 19 assists and also chipped in two service aces and five digs. Sophomore setter Tyler Sroufe contributed 11 assists and four digs. Senior libero Rebekah Strange led the Rams with 10 digs and also had three assists and a service ace.
Ohio closes out the Jefferson Cup presented by Fairfield Inn & Suites when it takes on host Virginia on Saturday at 7 p.m. ET.