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2018 Ohio Volleyball Schedule
ATHENS, Ohio -- The Ohio volleyball program announced its 2018 schedule on Monday (July 8), as announced by fifth-year head coach Deane Webb. The Bobcats' 29-match regular season slate is highlighted by four non-conference tournaments, 11 home matches at the Convocation Center and 16 Mid-American Conference matchups.
The Bobcats will battle six teams that ranked in the top 100 of the Ratings Percentage Index (RPI) in 2017 and four 2017 NCAA Championship qualifiers.
"Our schedule will provide a great challenge for our team throughout the first four weeks of our season," said Webb. "Our team is working hard right now to prepare for this opportunity, and I look forward to seeing our team compete against some very physical teams during the first month of play. This schedule will prepare our team for what should be a very competitive season in the MAC. MAC teams, overall, were very young last year, so seeing several teams that graduated very few, if any, starters should make for an increase conference-wide in level of play."
The Bobcats are coming off of a 2017 season that saw Ohio go 17-15 -- including a 10-6 mark in MAC play. Ohio earned the No. 4 seed in the 2017 MAC Championship and a bye to the tournament quarterfinals. Ohio topped Eastern Michigan, 3-1, to advance to the league tournament semifinals for the 16th year in a row. Returning for Ohio in 2018 will be 2017 MAC Setter of the Year Vera Giacomazzi (San Vendemiano, Italy), 2017 MAC Freshman of the Year Tia Jimerson (Sugar Hill, Ga.) and 2017 First Team All-MAC outside hitter Lizzie Stephens (Frisco, Texas). Outside hitter Jaime Kosiorek (Chagrin Falls, Ohio) -- a 2016 All-MAC Honorable Mention selection -- will also be back for a final season after redshirting the 2017 campaign due to injury.
The 2018 preseason features two events prior to the start of regular season competition. Ohio will hold its annual Green & White Scrimmage at the Convocation Center on Aug. 11. The Bobcats will then welcome Pittsburgh to the Convo for an exhibition match on Aug. 18. The Panthers went 26-7 in 2017 and finished the season ranked No. 28 in the RPI. Pittsburgh sported an 18-2 mark in conference play and clinched a share of the Atlantic Coast Conference title, giving the Panthers their first league crown in program history. Pittsburgh earned a 3-1 win over VCU in an NCAA Championship First Round matchup before falling to in-state rival Penn State in the Second Round, 3-1.
Ohio will make the drive up U.S. Route 33 to Columbus to compete in a tournament hosted by in-state rival Ohio State (Aug. 24-25) to open the new season. The Bobcats face Texas A&M in their first match of 2018. The Aggies ranked No. 53 in last season's RPI. Ohio and Texas A&M will be squaring off for the second time in the last five years as the two squads faced off in the Baymont Inn & Suites Invitational in Athens in 2014. The second day of the opening weekend of the season will see the Bobcats battle the host Buckeyes as well as Albany. Ohio and Ohio State last met in 2014 -- a 3-1 victory for the Bobcats in the Millennium Hotel Invitational in Cincinnati.
The Bobcats' travels will take them to Lincoln, Neb., for the second weekend of the season to play in the Ameritas Players Challenge (Aug. 31-Sept. 1). Ohio will be tested immediately when it meets Nebraska in the opening match of the tournament. The Cornhuskers captured their second national championship in the last three years and fifth in program history last year, going 32-4 overall and 19-1 in Big Ten Conference play before punctuating six-straight wins in the NCAA Championship with a 3-1 triumph over Florida in the national title match. Ohio will wrap up the first day of the Ameritas Players Challenge with a contest against Santa Clara. The Bobcats will be playing the Broncos, who ranked No. 94 in the RPI last year, for the first time. Ohio's trip to Lincoln concludes with a matchup with Wake Forest the following day. The Bobcats face the Demon Deacons for the second year in a row and will be looking to avenge a 3-1 loss last September at the Penn State Classic.
Ohio will then take on longtime rival Marshall in a non-conference midweek matchup for the third year in a row. The Bobcats are set to visit Huntington, W. Va., on Sept. 5. Ohio beat Marshall, 3-1, last season at the Convo, avenging a tough 3-2 setback to the Thundering Herd in Huntington in 2016.
The Bobcats then return to the friendly confines of the Convo to play host to the annual Bobcat Invitational (Sept. 7-8). Ohio will face off against Samford and Virginia Tech on the first day of the home tournament -- two opponents the Bobcats beat in non-conference action in the previous two seasons. The Bobcats earned an exciting 3-2 victory over the host Bulldogs on the opening weekend of the 2017 campaign in the Courtyard By Marriott Invitational in Birmingham, Ala. Ohio topped the host Hokies in a five-set thriller in Blacksburg, Va., in 2016 in the Hokie Invitational. The Bobcat Invitational will conclude with Ohio battling IUPUI the next day.
Ohio's final non-conference tournament takes the Bobcats to Columbia, Mo., for the Mizzou Invitational (Sept. 14-15). The Bobcats will battle Drake and Texas A&M-Corpus Christi before squaring off with tournament host Missouri. The Tigers finished 22-12 overall and 13-5 in Southeastern Conference action, tallying a ranking of No. 27 in the RPI. Missouri advanced to the NCAA Championship Regional Semifinals after knocking off Kansas, 3-2, in the First Round and Wichita State, 3-1, in the Second Round. The Tigers' season came to an end with a 3-0 setback to Penn State in the Sweet 16.
Ohio, which has won nine league regular season crowns, begins its 2018 MAC schedule with a home match against East Division rival Kent State (Sept. 20), then closes the first weekend of league play with a visit to Mount Pleasant, Mich., to battle West Division foe Central Michigan (Sept. 22). The month of September concludes with the Bobcats playing host to East Division rivals Buffalo (Sept. 28) and Akron (Sept. 29). The Bobcats swept the regular season series from the Zips in 2017, marking the seventh-straight season Ohio has achieved the feat.
The Bobcats then begin a stretch of four-straight road matches with visits to East Division rivals Bowling Green (Oct. 5) and Miami (Oct. 6). Ohio earned an exciting 3-2 win over the Falcons in its last trip to the Stroh Center last November. The Bobcats wrap up the road trip by meeting a pair of West Division foes in Ball State (Oct. 12) and Toledo (Oct. 13). Ohio's last trip to Muncie, Ind., resulted in a thrilling 3-2 victory over the Cardinals in 2016.
Ohio returns to the Convo to clash with West Division foes Western Michigan (Oct. 19) and Northern Illinois (Oct. 20). The Bobcats wrap up the October portion of their schedule by visiting Kent State (Oct. 25), then hosting Eastern Michigan (Oct. 27). The Bobcats came away with a 3-2 win over the Eagles last October in Ypsilanti, Mich.
The 2018 regular season slate will end with four-straight matches against East Division rivals. Ohio will visit Akron (Nov. 2) and Buffalo (Nov. 3) to open the month of November. The Bobcats conclude the regular season at the Convo with matchups against Bowling Green (Nov. 9) and archrival Miami (Nov. 10). Ohio stunned the RedHawks in their last visit to Athens with a 3-2 victory in September of 2017. Miami went on to win the MAC regular season title for the second year in a row.
Ohio will then take aim at winning its second MAC Championship title in four years and 10th in program history. The 2018 league tournament will be held Nov. 15-18 at Millett Hall in Oxford, Ohio, by virtue of Miami capturing the 2017 MAC regular season championship. The winner of the 2018 MAC Championship will secure the league's automatic bid to the 2018 NCAA Championship. Miami also won the 2017 MAC tournament crown. The No. 1-seeded RedHawks swept No. 6-seeded Western Michigan, 3-0, in the conference title match to punch their ticket to the 2017 NCAA Championship Field. Miami was swept by Baylor, 3-0, in the NCAA Championship First Round.
The 2018 NCAA Championship begins with first and second-round action at campus sites. The regionals will also be held at campus sites. The 2018 NCAA Championship will take place at Target Center in Minneapolis, Minn., with the semifinals being held on Dec. 13 and the title match taking place on Dec. 15. The Bobcats are looking to make their 11th trip to the national postseason. Ohio is 5-10 (.333) all-time in NCAA Championship play and advanced to a regional semifinal in 2005.
The Bobcats have gone 81-43 (.653) in four seasons under the direction of Webb -- including 50-14 (.781) in the MAC play. Ohio won a MAC regular season title with a perfect 16-0 (1.000) league year in 2014, then captured the conference tournament title in 2015.
For information on purchasing tickets for Ohio volleyball's home matches, click here or call 1-800-575-CATS (2287).