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Ohio Volleyball Wraps Up Bobcat Invitational Presented By Texas Roadhouse With Victory Over IUPUI

Ohio Volleyball Wraps Up Bobcat Invitational Presented By Texas Roadhouse With Victory Over IUPUI

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Box Score (PDF)

ATHENS, Ohio --
 The Ohio volleyball team (4-6) dominated at the net on its way to a 3-1 (25-15, 17-25, 25-17, 25-21) win over IUPUI (2-8) to wrap up the Bobcat Invitational presented by Texas Roadhouse today at the Convocation Center.

With the victory over the Jaguars, the Bobcats clinched a share of their home tournament title after going 2-1 on the weekend. Samford and Virginia Tech also went 2-1 at the Bobcat Invitational. On Friday (Sept. 7), Ohio earned a hard-fought 3-2 (25-27, 24-26, 25-22, 27-25, 15-11) triumph over Samford yesterday morning but fell to Virginia Tech, 3-1 (24-26, 25-21, 25-21, 25-16), in the night cap.

"I think we just learned when to control our errors and when to control our swings," said redshirt senior right side hitter Katie Nelson (Regina, Saskatchewan) of the team's success this weekend. Serving, especially, we knew to dial it back and when to really go for it this weekend. Another adjustment we made was just adjusting on the block, whether it's those big teams where you really do have to reach high or the teams that aren't as big as us and you have to push over and go grab the ball."

Saturday's win over IUPUI saw Ohio outblock the visitors, 10-5. The Bobcats also forced the Jaguars into 11 service errors and eight receptions errors en route to victory.

Junior outside hitter Lizzie Stephens (Dallas, Texas) achieved a double-double with a match-high 12 kills to go along with 14 digs. She also tied for the team lead with two service aces. Nelson hit .409 with 11 kills and also posted three assisted blocks. Redshirt senior outside hitter Jaime Kosiorek (Chagrin Falls, Ohio) logged 10 kills and tied for the team lead with two service aces. Making her first career start, redshirt freshman middle blocker Dahlias Bouyer (Brownstown, Mich.) racked up a career-high seven assisted blocks to lead the match. Redshirt junior middle blocker Simone Miller (Kalamazoo, Mich.) hit .444 with five kills and also chipped in three assisted blocks. Sophomore setter Vera Giacomazzi (San Vendemiano, Italy) handed out a match-high 26 assists while freshman setter Kyra Slavik (Saint Charles, Ill.) achieved her first career double-double with 16 assists and a career-high 12 digs. Sophomore libero/defensive specialist Macy Reihing (Lexington, Ky.) compiled a match-high 18 digs. 

"This was the perfect opponent for her," said fifth-year head coach Deane Webb of Bouyer's first start. "She is someone, clearly, who jumps well. I think everyone can see that. She's 5-11, almost 6-0 kid that touches 10-10. That's pretty special. She's still learning the game, and so we needed it to be against an opponent who didn't run their middle a lot so we could manage the number of decisions she had to make. This was a good team for that. It was the perfect opponent. They set a little bit higher ball on the outside, so she had a little more time to get there, and she's was great. In your first college start, to get seven blocks, that's outstanding."

Senior defensive specialist/setter Maggie Gibson led IUPUI with a double-double performance that saw her lead the team with 10 kills and tie for the team lead with 16 assists. She hit at a .375 clip and just missed out on a triple-double with nine digs. Sophomore outside hitter Maddie Dean hit .412 with eight kills and led the Jaguars with two service aces. Junior middle blocker Haley Hoffman logged a team-high four total blocks (one solo, three assisted). Sophomore setter Rebecca Schlechte matched Gibson for the team lead with 16 assists and just missed out on a double-double with nine digs. Freshman defensive specialist/libero Rachel Hickey led IUPUI with 15 digs.

The Bobcats raced out to an 11-3 lead in the opening set. Stephens posted three kills and teamed up with Bouyer on a double block during the run. Ohio never led by less than four the rest of the way and secured a 10-point win after a service ace by Stephens and a double block by Bouyer and Kosiorek ended the set.

Ohio's attacked struggled in the second set, hitting just .034 with eight errors and nine kills as the Jaguars evened the match with an eight-point triumph in the second set. The Bobcats took a 16-15 lead on a kill by Kosiorek, but IUPUI ended the set on a 10-2 run, with Ohio committing five attack errors down the stretch.

The Bobcats flipped the script in the third set, however, hitting .344 with 13 kills and only two attack errors. Ohio built up a 10-5 advantage with kills by Stephens, Nelson, Kosiorek and senior right side hitter Stephanie Olman (Maumee, Ohio). IUPUI scored five of the next eight points to trim the Bobcats' lead to 13-10, but Ohio answered with a 5-1 run that saw Bouyer tally a kill and team up with Olman twice on double blocks. A kill by Dean, a pair of Ohio attack errors and a kill by Gibson made it a four-point set again at 19-15, but two kills by Nelson, a kill by junior outside hitter/defensive specialist Allyson Vaughn (Glenview, Ill.) and a double block by Bouyer and Nelson allowed the Bobcats score six of the set's final eight points and take a 2-1 match lead.

"The adjust was very simple. It was, 'Guys, stop hitting the balls out of bounds.' That's truly all it was," said Webb. "In the third set, we had two unforced errors, so we hit .344. That's the difference. In the other set, we were hitting all these balls out of bounds. It's always a challenge because you push your kids. We've got to go for it, we've got to raise our kill percentage, we've got to go get our own points. All those things, but you can't be reckless. The phrase I use is intelligently aggressive. There are moments when the moment is there; don't let it pass you by. Get your arm on all ball, get your shoulder to the ball, go rip it. But, those balls where you're not in a good way, maybe you jump pass it and you can to reach back. Maybe you're in a situation that the ball's inside and you're having to reach in. Those aren't the ones you're supposed to rip. Those are the ones you're supposed to put in play. Sometimes, we're just not connecting those. We're not making the right decisions on when those moments are. But, I think today in that third set, is a good example. We just lowered our error rate. That's all it was."

Double blocks by Miller and Kosiorek and Miller and Nelson and service aces by Giacomazzi and Kosiorek helped Ohio run out of the gates to a 5-1 lead in the fourth set. IUPUI responded with a 12-7 run to take a 13-12 lead, but a kill by Stephens and three-straight attack errors by the Jaguars saw Ohio grab a 16-13 lead and force the visitors to call timeout. Three attacks errors by the Bobcats helped the Jaguars cut Ohio's lead down to two at 21-19, but a kill by Kosiorek and two more kills by Nelson sealed the four-set win for the home team.

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 next Friday (Sept. 14) before squaring off with tournament host Missouri on Saturday (Sept. 15).

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