By Mike Ashcraft
DAYTON, Ohio -- The Ohio volleyball team (3-1) suffered a tough loss to in-state rival Dayton (3-1), 3-1 (28-26, 16-25, 25-8, 25-19), on Tuesday (Aug. 29) at the Thomas J. Frericks Athletic and Convocation Center.
The Bobcats fought hard but could not overcome 36 attack errors, 10 service errors and four reception errors.
"For the first hour of the match, I would say we played the best we have yet this season," said fourth-year head coach Deane Webb. "Dayton is a good team, and I was thrilled to know we were defending them well as we went into the break. However, in the third set, our attacking errors greatly changed the match. It is something we will learn from and improve going forward."
Sophomore outside hitter Lizzie Stephens (Frisco, Texas) led the Bobcats with 13 kills and added nine digs. Freshman middle blocker Tia Jimerson (Sugar Hill, Ga.) hit .462 with eight kills and also added three total blocks (one solo, two assisted) and a dig. Freshman setter Vera Giacomazzi (San Vendemiano, Italy) dished out a match-high 37 assists to go along with three assisted blocks, a service ace and six digs. Freshman libero Macy Reihing (Lexington, Ky.) led Ohio with 13 digs and had two assists. Sophomore libero Meredith Howe (Grand Rapids, Mich.) compiled 12 digs and tallied an assist. Redshirt sophomore outside hitter Carley Remmers (Filley, Neb.) recorded 10 digs, six kills and an assisted block.
The Flyers came away victorious despite hitting just .194 (44 kills-19 errors-129 total attacks) and committing five service errors. Junior outside hitter Lauren Bruns led the match with 18 kills and chipped in four assisted blocks and six digs. Senior middle blocker Amber Erhahon put together a big match for Dayton with nine kills, 11 assisted blocks, a service ace and two digs. Junior middle blocker Kendyll Brown tallied eight kills, six total blocks (one solo, five assisted) and a dig. Senior setter Jane Emmenecker distributed 35 assists and also added two kills, five assisted blocks, a service ace and nine digs. Junior defensive specialist/libero Margo Wolf led the match with 17 digs and had a service ace.
Ohio opened the first set by jumping out to a 10-6 lead. Stephens provided the Bobcats with three kills while senior outside hitter Jaime Kosiorek (Chagrin Falls, Ohio) added two, Giacomazzi tallied a service ace and redshirt junior middle blocker Katie Nelson (Regina, Saskatchewan) and Giacomazzi combined for a double block. The Flyers answered, though, with a 12-4 run that gave Dayton a 18-14 lead and forced Ohio to burn a timeout. A pair of kills by Bruns and a pair of double blocks by Brown and Bruns and a double block by sophomore outside hitter Jordan Albarran and Brown propelled Dayton's run. A kill by Nelson pulled the Bobcats within three at 19-16, but the Flyers scored three of the next five points to take a 22-18 lead and force the Bobcats to call their second timeout. Ohio clawed back, however, using kills by Stephens and redshirt senior middle blocker Ali Lake (Liberty Township, Ohio) and three errors by Dayton to even things up at 23-all. A kill by Brown gave Dayton set point, but Lake kept Ohio alive with a kill of her own. An attack error by the Flyers put Ohio up 25-24, giving the Bobcats set point. Back-to-back Ohio attack errors made it 26-25 in favor of the Flyers, though. Kosiorek kept the Bobcats in it with a kill to tie the set but was injured on the play. Dayton then took a 1-0 match lead thanks to a service error by the Bobcats and a double block by redshirt freshman setter/right side hitter Brooke Westbeld and Erhahon.
Dayton started out the second set by taking a 7-5 lead, but Ohio countered with a 14-2 run that featured a pair of kills by both Jimerson and Stephens, solo blocks by Lake and Nelson and a double block by Giacomazzi and Jimerson. The Bobcats closed out a nine-point set win with three kills by Stephens down the stretch leading the charge. Ohio hit at .226 with 12 kills in the set while limiting Dayton to a .027 hitting percentage. Unfortunately for the Bobcats, they were dealt more adversity when Nelson was injured at the end of the set.
The Flyers then rolled to a 17-point victory in the third set to take a 2-1 match lead. Dayton recorded a .348 hitting percentage while holding the Bobcats to -.242 with just five kills.
The fourth set saw the Flyers force Ohio to call timeout after taking a 13-8 lead. A kill by Burns gave Dayton a 20-12 lead and forced another timeout by the Bobcats. Oho kept fighting though, as a ball handling error by the Flyers, a Dayton attack error, a service ace by sophomore outside hitter/libero Allyson Vaugnh (Glenview, Ill.) and a kill by Stephens forced the Flyers to burn a timeout. Kills by sophomore middle blocker/outside hitter Sara Januszewski (Oak Creek, Wis.), Lake and Stephens made it a five-point set, but Dayton closed out the match victory with a kill by Erhahon.
Ohio will make its regular season debut at the Convocation Center this weekend as the Bobcats play host to the Bobcat Invitational presented by Texas Roadhouse. The Bobcat Invitational features two Power Five conference opponents and another 2016 NCAA Championship qualifier. The Bobcats face off against Southeastern Conference opponent Georgia and Big 12 Conference opponent Oklahoma on Friday (Sept. 1), then close out their home tournament with a matchup against High Point on Sept. 2. Click here to see the full Bobcat Invitational schedule.