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Ohio University senior Meredith Howe (#7) celebrates a point during the Bobcat Invitational on Friday, Sept. 13, 2019. 

Volleyball: Meredith Howe's humor is more than it seems

The pregame routine at Ohio volleyball match isn’t out of the ordinary. Both teams warm up on either side of the net, then eventually one team will go into the locker room while the other runs some full court drills. 

By the time both teams are dressed, the announcer begins the introductions for the away side, which is followed by a loud proclamation that it is time for “lights out in the Convo.” The lights shut off and a pump-up video featuring most of the team plays on the video board. Then, a short, humorous video plays on the video board for each Ohio starter in introductions.

Tia Jimerson is shown locked into a game of Mario Kart. Lizzie Stephens finds herself surrounded by puppies imposed by a green screen as she holds up her own dog. 

Then, there’s Meredith Howe.

The senior, who has grown a reputation for the quality of her video introductions, appears on the screen in slow motion wearing goggles while perched on a large pool floatie, as if she was riding a horse. The green screen behind her shows a tumultuous sea that throws her and the floatie around. 

“It was partially my idea,“ Howe said. “I texted my dad and asked for some ideas, and he told me to get some floaties and do something with that. I ended up going to Walmart and getting the cheapest floatie I could find, and it just progressed from there.”

Howe’s introduction is a favorite among coaches and players.

“I think Mere’s may have the best. That was outstanding,” coach Deane Webb said. “There were a lot of good ones, but every year Mere has one that was typical Mere, just really funny. It’s a little like, ‘Okay, how’d you come up with that,’ but then you watch it and you’re like, ‘That’s really, really good.’”

Webb hadn’t seen any of these introductions before the home opener against Charleston. In fact, he avoided them.

“I intentionally don’t watch them before,“ Webb said. “A lot of players see them before. They get to see them when they’re done and all that. I intentionally don’t. Every year I make sure I don’t see them until then to enjoy them in the moment.”

Stephens, who brought in her dog for her video, also had a certain affinity for Howe’s.

“They actually did a lot of cool stuff with us before they made it, and so we were all super excited to see what they put together,“ Stephens said. “And then of course Meredith’s floatie thing she was doing was pretty funny, so it was cool to see it all put together. They did a really good job.”

Howe has put herself into an energy providing player. She can crack jokes at the right time and make the people around her laugh. This is something her teammates are ready and willing to accept.

“I am a goofy person in general, and I think with this team, they react to my goofiness really well,” Howe said. “They accept me and they kind of let that goofiness take it wherever it wants to go. Yeah, I think it brings a lot of energy, I’m an energetic person in general.”

Howe isn’t just a goofy personality that creates laughs and lightens moods for her teammates, though. She has cemented herself as a hard worker on and off the court, and it has paid off.

The senior has led the recent defensive mentality the Bobcats have adopted by being a reliable player in the back row who has also made some spectacular digs. She’s currently fifth on Ohio in digs and second with 10 service aces.

To Webb, her prowess as a player far exceeds that of her humor.

“Her serve and receive has been outstanding this year,“ Webb said. “Her defense, of course, has always been great. I know she has a lot of funny moments. I think a lot more of that comes around her teammates, but I think she is just the ultimate hard worker. She’s just the kind of person we’d love to have more of on our team.”

It was no miracle Howe has made it to the starting lineup. Her high praise from Webb says it all, and she is a big part of Ohio’s five-match win streak.

“I listened to my coaches a lot,” Howe said. “Obviously, they have great input on the game, and they know what’s best for me and know what areas I need to improve in the most, so I work hard on what they’ve told me to improve.”

Howe will be looking to keep up her play and her energy as the Bobcats travel to their last tournament before conference play starts next week.

It’s no secret that she is capable of doing just that.


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