Box Score (PDF)
By Mike Ashcraft
ATHENS, Ohio -- The Ohio volleyball team (9-12, 3-4 MAC) pushed the match to five sets but ultimately fell to Mid-American Conference West Division foe Toledo (9-10, 4-3 MAC), 3-2 (17-25, 25-21, 25-22, 22-25, 19-17), on Friday (Oct. 13).
The Bobcats played their third-straight five-set match and seventh of the 2017 season, falling to 4-3 when matches go the full five.
Ohio lost despite totaling a season-high 13 service aces.
"It is good to have that resilience," said fourth-year head coach Deane Webb. "On the other hand, we had several opportunities late in set two. We had five unforced errors in the midst of their last eight points and really gave a lot of points when we shouldn't have late in the set. In the fifth set, we're up 10-6, and passing breaks down. We'd been passing well all night long, really, and then just really fell apart in serve receive. We feel like our middles can score, but if we don't pass well enough to get them the ball, they can't."
Freshman middle blocker Tia Jimerson (Sugar Hill, Ga.) hit .441 and led the match with 19 kills for Ohio. She also tallied an assisted block and three digs. Sophomore outside hitter Lizzie Stephens (Dallas, Texas) achieved her team-high ninth double-double of the year with 18 kills and 14 digs. She posted double-digit kills for the 10th time in the last 11 matches. She also logged two service aces and three total blocks (one solo, two assisted). Junior setter/outside hitter Stephanie Olman (Maumee, Ohio) recorded 12 kills, four assisted blocks and a dig. Redshirt sophomore outside hitter Carley Remmers (Filley, Neb.) tallied seven kills, a career-high four service aces to lead the match and 14 digs. Sophomore middle blocker/outside hitter Sara Januszewski (Oak Creek, Wis.) posted five kills, a team-high six total blocks (one solo, five assisted) and three digs. Freshman setter Vera Giacomazzi (San Vendemiano, Italy) logged a match-high 56 assists and achieved her eighth double-double and fourth in a row with 16 digs. She also had a kill and a service ace. Freshman libero Macy Reihing (Lexington, Ky.) totaled a team-high 25 digs and also had a service ace and two assists. Sophomore libero Meredith Howe (Grand Rapids, Mich.) posted 12 digs, a career-high three service aces and an assist.
"Focus late in sets on serve receive," said Stephens of what Ohio can learn from the tough loss. "There were just some communication errors that kind of didn't help us."
The Bobcats opened the match by earning an eight-point victory in the first set. Toledo took an 11-10 lead on a double block by senior middle hitter Rachel Vidourek and junior setter/right side hitter Carly Townsend, but it marked the Rockets' last advantage of the opening set. Back-to-back kills by Stephens and Januszewski and a service ace by Giacomazzi put Ohio in front, 13-11, and gave the Bobcats a lead they never gave up the rest of the set. A service error by Ohio pulled Toledo within one at 13-12, but the Bobcats responded with a 7-2 run that forced the Rockets to burn both of their timeouts. Ohio's run was powered by two kills apiece from Stephens and Remmers and kills by Olman and Jimerson. The Bobcats closed out the set win with two more kills by Stephens, kills by Giacomazzi and Jimerson and a service ace by sophomore outside hitter/libero Allyson Vaughn (Glenview, Ill.).
Ohio appeared to be on its way to a 2-0 match lead as it jumped out to a 13-9 advantage in the second set, utilizing back-to-back double blocks by Olman and Januszewski, a kill and a service ace by Stephens, a kill and a service ace by Remmers and a service ace by Vaughn. After Toledo called timeout following Vaughn's service ace, the Rockets flipped the script of the set by going on a 12-6 run to take a 21-19 edge and force Ohio to use both of its timeouts. The Bobcats pulled within one at 21-20 after a kill by Jimerson and again at 22-21 after a service error by the Rockets, but a kill and a solo block by Vidourek and an Ohio ball handling error allowed Toledo to even the match. Vidourek led the way with a set-high six kills and two total blocks (one solo, one assisted).
A kill by Jimerson gave Ohio an early 5-4 lead in the third set, but a service error by the Bobcats, back-to-back kills by Vidourek and a kill by senior outside hitter Saige Thomas gave the Rockets four-straight points and an 8-5 lead. Ohio took a 13-12 lead thanks to two kills apiece by Jimerson and Stephens and kills by Januszewski and Olman, but Toledo responded with seven-straight points thanks in large to six attack errors by the Bobcats. A kill by Olman and a service ace by Reihing cut the Rockets' lead down to three at 19-16 and forced Toledo to call a timeout, but that's as close as the Bobcats got as Toledo earned a three-point set win and a took a 2-1 match lead. Four kills and two solo blocks by Vidourek and three kills by Thomas helped the Rockets gain control in the third set.
The Bobcats did not quit, though, and forced Toledo to call an early timeout in the fourth set as Ohio jumped out to a 10-7 lead behind two kills apiece from Olman and Stephens and a double block by Olman and Januszewski. The Rockets went on an 8-3 run out of the timeout, though, using back-to-back kills by Vidourek, back-to-back service aces by junior libero/defensive specialist Maurissa Leonard and a pair of kills by freshman outside hitter Emma Swope to take a 15-13 lead and force Ohio to call a timeout. The Bobcats regained command of the set, though, with an 8-4 stretch that saw three kills by Stephens and two by Jimerson. Kills by senior middle hitter/outside hitter Annie Beasley, Townsend and Vidourek forced Ohio to burn another timeout while clinging to a 23-22 edge, but the Bobcats were able to extend the match to five sets after back-to-back attack errors by the Rockets.
It looked as though Ohio was on its way to complete a come-from-behind win in five sets as two kills by apiece by Olman and Stephens, kills by Remmers and Jimerson and double blocks by Stephens and Januszewski and Olman and Januszewski helped the Bobcats snatch a 13-11 lead and force Toledo to burn two timeouts. An Ohio service error and a double block by Swope and Vidourek evened the set score for the Rockets, though. The Bobcats and the Rockets proceeded to trade the next six points until Toledo took a 17-16 lead on an Ohio attack error. A kill by Jimerson gave the Bobcats new life, but the Bobcats were ultimately done in by a service error and a kill by Beasley to end the match.
Vidourek led Toledo with 16 kills and hit .371 for the match. She also led the match with 10 total blocks (four solo, six assisted) and tallied three digs. Thomas totaled 14 kills, an assisted block, an assist and four digs. Beasley finished with 10 kills and three solo blocks. Swope compiled seven kills, three assisted blocks and three digs. Townsend achieved a double-double with a team-high 46 assists to go along with 12 digs. She also had three kills and two total blocks (one solo, one assisted). Leonard led the match with 32 digs, totaled a team-high two service aces and had two assists. Senior libero/defensive specialist Lauren Bakaitis finished with 31 digs and had an assist.
Ohio will look to bounce back on Saturday (Oct. 14) when it plays host to Ball State (13-7, 5-2 MAC). The contest is set to get underway at 7 p.m. ET and will be streamed live on ESPN3. 'Voice of Ohio volleyball' Jake Hromada and Gabe Genovesi will be on the call. The Cardinals posted a 3-1 (25-19, 17-25, 25-19, 27-25) victory over MAC East Division foe Kent State on Friday at the M.A.C. Center.