DENTON, Texas - The Ohio volleyball team (8-4) grabbed its seventh-straight win as the Bobcats took down Kansas State, 3-2 (28-26, 20-25, 27-25, 22-25, 15-12), on Friday evening in the North Texas Challenge. Junior setter Vera Giacomazzi (San Vendemiano, Italy) rewrote the Ohio record book after producing 74 assists.
Giacomazzi set the Ohio 25-point rally scoring record for assists and her total is the third-highest in program history, including the side-out scoring era and 30-point rally scoring era. No player in the 25-point rally scoring era had ever eclipsed the 70 assist mark prior to tonight. Ohio's match record is 81, set by Shannen Braden in 1995 at Bowling Green.
"When you have a night where this many players hit this well, you have to give credit to the setter," head coach Deane Webb said. "I'm not sure I've ever seen 74 assists since we switched to rally scoring. Vera (Giacomazzi) led us throughout the match, called good plays and made great decisions."
Giacomazzi's career-high 74 assists helped Ohio hit a season best .304. Ohio had a season high of 79 kills in the win. Five Bobcats totaled double-digit terminations and Ohio had 79 kills compared to the Wildcats' 67. Giacomazzi did more than dish out assists tonight, posting seven blocks, seven digs and three aces.
The Bobcats have now taken down two Power Five teams in one season for the first time since 2015, when they took down No. 10 Kentucky and LSU.
Junior middle blocker Tia Jimerson (Sugar Hill, Ga.) set her career high with 10 total blocks (one solo, nine assisted) and also put up a season-best 19 kills.
"We had great balanced scoring tonight by our team," Webb added. "It was a great offensive performance across the board with timely kills throughout the lineup. Tia (Jimerson) was absolutely next level tonight, especially on the defensive side."
Ohio was led in kills by senior outside hitter Lizzie Stephens (Dallas, Texas), who had a season-high 20 kills on 47 swings while hitting .298. Stephens had her sixth double-double of the season after adding 14 digs. Junior opposite Maggie Nedoma (Brook Park, Ohio) also picked up a double-double - her fourth of the season - after posting 17 kills and 15 digs. Freshman outside hitter Olivia Margolies (Galena, Ohio) recorded 13 kills and hit .243 Graduate transfer Shayla Phillip (Columbia, S.C.) posted 10 kills on 17 swings and hit .529 with just one error.
After Jimerson's 10 blocks, Giacomazzi posted seven, all assisted. Nedoma had three stuffs while Phillip had one.
Junior libero Macy Reihing (Lexington, Ky.) led Ohio with 23 digs. After Nedoma's 15 and Stephens' 14, senior defensive specialist Meredith Howe (Grand Rapids, Mich.) produced eight. Giacomazzi chipped in seven scoops on her record night. OU had 74 as a team and outdug K-State, 74-66.
Ohio came from down 16-11 to win the first set, 28-26. After tying the match at 24-24, Ohio went back-and-forth with Kansas State until a Giacomazzi and Jimerson block along with a Stephens kill won the set with the final two points. Ohio dropped the second set, but found themselves in a similar situation in the third frame. The Bobcats were down 15-10, when Ohio rallied to tie the set at 18-18. Ohio went up 21-19 and then maintained a one point lead until Nedoma was able to get a termination to win the fourth set, 27-25. No team had more then a two point lead in the final set until Ohio went up 14-11 on a Margolies hammer. After K-State cut the lead to 14-12, Ohio won the match when Phillip was assisted by Giacomazzi with a kill to win, 15-12.
The Bobcats will finish the North Texas Challenge tomorrow against the host North Texas. First serve is set for 1:30 p.m. ET.