Ohio’s players looked up to the big screen in The Convo on Friday and smiled. They watched their new video introduction for the first time, and those smiles lasted all weekend as the Bobcats dominated the Bobcat Invitational, sweeping all three of its opponents.
The wins made it clear that, for Ohio, it was good to be home.
“I think it’s a huge relief to be back in The Convo,” senior Lizzie Stephens said. “We were just saying before the game it feels like it’s been forever since we’ve played at home, so it was just good getting to be in Athens and going through a game day routine.”
Ohio has its way with Charleston
That comfort showed right away as the Bobcats, led by their stout defense, completed their first sweep of the weekend against Charleston on Friday. The defense held the Cougars to a -.053 hitting percentage in the 3-0 (25-14, 25-23, 25-18) win.
“Our back row, I think we dug a lot of balls. Macy [Reihing] had a really good game for us, 18 digs in a three-set match,” coach Deane Webb said after the match. “As a team, that’s something we’ve been working on.”
The return of Tia Jimerson
Ohio’s offensive and defensive games grew exponentially in its next match with the return of Tia Jimerson.
Jimerson brought a reestablished sense of energy to the Bobcats in front of a large crowd in their 3-0 (25-22, 25-14, 25-20) sweep over UConn. She had a .545 hitting percentage with seven kills and a block in her return.
“It just felt so good to be back on the court with the girls,” Jimerson said. “We play together for each other, so it just felt good to be back and be able to do that for them.”
Bobcats complete a perfect weekend
Ohio’s quest for the weekend sweep was completed on Saturday after it defeated Virginia 3-0 (25-21, 25-18, 25-22) in the final match of the weekend. The Bobcats’ defense, which had played exceptionally well on Friday, shut down the Cavaliers’ best hitter, Jelena Novakovic, in the set. The Bobcats held Novakovic to eight kills on a .034 hitting.
Ohio not only limited Novakovic’s chances, but the Cavaliers were put in check. Virginia never managed to eclipse a .200 hitting percentage, and in the second set, it only mustered a .083 percentage.
Jimerson led the Bobcats with nine kills and two blocks with a .600 hitting percentage.
Ohio will travel to Denton, Texas, where it’ll participate in the North Texas Challenge on Sept. 19-21. Along with host North Texas, the Bobcats will have matches against New Mexico and Kansas State.
This is the last tournament Ohio will play before Mid-American Conference play begins on Sept. 27 at home against Bowling Green.