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Ohio’s Vera Giacomazzi blocks Virginia’s hit during the team’s win at the convocation center during the Bobcat Invitational in Athens, Ohio on Saturday, Sept. 14, 2019. (FILE)

Volleyball: Vera Giacomazzi's high-level play has been a vital role in Ohio's success

Vera Giacomazzi is the nucleus of Ohio’s offense. 

Every one of Tia Jimerson’s thunderous spikes into the middle of the floor or Maggie Nedoma’s cross-court kills goes through the junior setter.

The San Vendemiano, Italy, native is one of the best setters in the country, and undoubtedly the best in the Mid-American Conference.  

She is second in the nation in total assists, with 657, and 15th in assists per set, with 11.14. Giacomazzi has over 100 more assists than the next highest in the MAC and is the only player in the conference with double-digit assists per set.

Ohio’s star setter is having the best year of her career and serving a pivotal role in one of the MAC’s most aggressive offenses.

“Whenever you get a lot of assists, it’s a lot of things put together,” Giacomazzi said. “It’s really good passing, it’s really good defense, it’s being in-system enough to set our middles or set really precise balls.”

Giacomazzi has helped the Bobcats lead the conference in kills, but not just with her assists. She has improved her numbers from her previous seasons in every statistic, including kills per set, service aces per set and blocks per set.

Her higher-numbered statistics are a reflection of not only her play, but the improvements of her teammates. Ohio got off to a winning record in nonconference play for the first time since 2015, and it has proved to be a top team in the MAC East so far this season.

“That helps just to have somebody who can set multiple positions,” coach Deane Webb said. “She’s strong enough to reverse, or set to the opposite side of the court, much more so than a lot of setters. Any stat, any time someone moves up in the national rankings, it’s a team accomplishment.”

The Bobcats have looked in-sync for most of the year behind Giacomazzi’s 50-plus assists five times so far this season, including 74 against Kansas State. That is the second highest single game number in the country this season, and it was a new school record, too.

Assists are an often overlooked part of the game, though. They aren’t the flashy game-winning components, but the value of an assist can’t be overstated.

“I feel like as a setter you have to have the personality and be the influence on the team that makes people look at you,” Giacomazzi said. “People overlook my position, like the libero. People do not really understand how important it is to be precise in our roles.”

Giacomazzi fills that personality both on and off the court.

On the court, she brings a calming presence. She always appears collected regardless if the Bobcats are winning or losing. Off the court, Giacomazzi is fun to be around. Her light-hearted demeanor is at the forefront whether she is attempting to distract Webb during an interview or conduct one of her own.

Giacomazzi and the Bobcats have another opportunity to raise their respective statistics even more with away games at Kent State and Eastern Michigan this weekend.

“With the goals we have this season we’re going to have to face the fact that we are going to have to play our best volleyball against every team,” Giacomazzi said. “I’m not really sure why, but every team in the MAC comes out and just plays the best volleyball against us and just wants to beat us.”


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