Box Score (PDF)
ATHENS, Ohio -- The Ohio volleyball team (8-9, 3-1 MAC) swept East Division rival Akron (8-7, 0-4 MAC), 3-0, (25-21, 25-14, 25-22) tonight at the Convocation Center to wrap up its second weekend of 2018 Mid-American Conference play.
"I think today, we really focused on our tempo," said fifth-year head coach Deane Webb. "Last night, we got slow a lot of the time, and, today, we just really went fast. I think a big part of today, we've really been focusing on lowering our unforced errors. A few weeks ago, that was a real problem. Today, you really can't ask for much more than we did today. We attacked 100 balls, and we had two unforced errors. They blocked four, we hit two balls out of bounds out of 100. That's an unbelievable number."
Junior outside hitter Lizzie Stephens (Dallas, Texas) registered a team-high 10 kills on 30 total attempts for a .267 hitting percentage to lead the Bobcats. Stephens also registered a match-high three service aces for the Bobcats. Redshirt senior outside hitter Jaime Kosiorek (Chagrin Falls, Ohio) registered seven kills and 11 digs while redshirt senior right side hitter Katie Nelson (Regina, Saskatchewan) and junior middle blocker Sara Januszewski (Oak Creek, Wis.) both compiled four kills and six total blocks for the Bobcats. Redshirt junior middle blocker Simone Miller (Kalamazoo, Mich) chipped in four assisted blocks. Sophomore setter Vera Giacomazzi (San Vendemiano, Italy) registered a match-high 26 assists and also posted seven digs while sophomore libero/defensive specialist Macy Reihing (Lexington, Kentucky) recorded a team-high 14 digs.
"I think it was an all-around kind of good (performance)," said Stephens. "My passing was alright, and then serving, I just had to be aggressive back there because I knew I could get Akron out of system if I was aggressive. Hitting, I was just going for it. We passed a lot better, so it put us in good situations, and we were back at our tempo. Vera did a great job of giving me great opportunities."
After a quick 2-0 lead for Akron in the opening set, Ohio outscored the Zips, 7-2. Three kills by Stephens and a kill by Miller followed by a service ace by freshman defensive specialist/setter Emily Walsh (Allen, Texas) kept Ohio ahead, 13-11. Januszewski compiled two kills and a block assist that was paired with a service ace from Stephens, forcing an Akron timeout with Ohio leading, 17-14. The Bobcats refused to back down taking a 20-16 lead that forced Akron to use its last timeout of the set. A kill by Kosiorek extended the lead to 22-17, but Akron pushed back to within three, 23-20. A solo block by Nelson followed by a kill from Giacomazzi secured a first set win for Ohio, however, 25-21.
To begin the second set, Nelson, Kosiorek and Miller each registered kills for a 3-2 Bobcat lead. The Zips took a 4-3 lead until Ohio scored five consecutive points on two kills from Stephens, a kill from Januszewski and a service ace by junior libero/defensive specialist Meredith Howe (Grand Rapids, Mich) to force an Akron timeout. Another kill by Stephens created a 10-4 Bobcat lead early in the second set. Akron went on to score four of the next five points in an effort to battle back, but the comeback was short-lived when a Zips service error was followed by an Ohio service ace by Reihing. Akron took its second timeout with a score of 13-8. Reihing followed the timeout with another service ace that gave Ohio a 14-8 lead halfway through the set. Two Ohio blocks around a kill from Nelson gave the Bobcats a 19-10 lead. Ohio, with 12 kills on 29 total attempts for a .414 hitting percentage, went on to score six of the next 10 points to take the second set victory, 25-14.
With Ohio up 2-0 and in search of a sweep, the two squads traded points until an early tie at eight-apiece. Two Akron errors and a kill by Stephens gave Ohio an 11-8 lead early in the third set. Kills by Miller and Januszewski paired with an assisted block from Nelson and Januszewski forced an Akron timeout with a 14-10 Bobcat lead. Another Ohio block followed directly by a service ace from Stephens and a kill from Kosiorek gave the Bobcats an 18-12 lead that forced Akron into its second timeout of the set. However, Akron outscored Ohio, 8-3, to scratch back to within one, 21-20, forcing a timeout by the Bobcats. Stephens answered with two kills and her third service ace out of the timeout to fuel Ohio to a set and match point up 24-22. An Akron service error decided the set for a Bobcats, 25-22, and gave Ohio the sweep.
Senior outside hitter Kayla Gwozdz recorded a team-high 10 kills while junior outside hitter Elya Karsner registered eight for the Zips. Sophomore setter Emily Weigand registered a double-double with a team-high 21 assists and 12 digs for Akron. Sophomore libero/defensive specialist Taylor Sharrits compiled a team-high 17 digs for the Zips.
Ohio begins a stretch of four-straight road matches next weekend, visiting MAC East Division archrival Miami on Friday (Oct. 5), then traveling to play East Division rival Bowling Green on Saturday (Oct. 6).