The players on the benches held their breath. The Bobcats and the Chippewas had volleyed back and forth for a minute straight during the second set of their second match on Saturday. After the Bobcats won the point, and the set, the energy was electric. That same energy propelled them to win out the rest of the match.
After a tough five-set loss to Central Michigan that morning, Ohio bounced back and swept the Chippewas 3-0 (25-15, 31-29, 25-22) Saturday evening at home. This is the fourth time the Bobcats have swept the Chippewas since head coach Deane Webb took over in 2014.
Many players stood out offensively for Ohio, including outside hitter Mariana Rodrigues. Rodrigues, a junior transfer from Indian Hills Community College, had 11 kills, six of which were in the third set. In addition to her stellar offensive performance, Rodrigues had six digs in Saturday night’s match against Central Michigan.
Bobcat middle blocker Caitlin O’Farrell also had 11 kills in the match. O’Farrell had six kills in the first set against the Chippewas, which got the ball rolling for the Bobcats. She continued her dominant performance throughout the rest of the match, leading the team with a hitting percentage of .588.
“I got a mix of emotions,“ O’Farrell said. “It was both exhilarating and exciting, but I was also insanely nervous. It’s just really great to have this opportunity and be with this team.”
Arguably the most vocal player for the Bobcats on Saturday was Tia Jimerson. Without fans in the stands due to COVID-19, Jimerson’s cheers could be heard all throughout The Convo. With 17 kills and a team-high six blocks, Jimerson had plenty to be excited about. As far as good starts to a season go, Jimerson’s senior season is beginning on a good note.
“She is the alpha female,” coach Deane Webb said. “She’s the kid that’s going to go out there and drive the team ... She is special offensively. She’s a really, really hard person to stop.”
Unfortunately, Ohio will have to wait for its next chance at a win. Ohio’s Jan. 28 and 29 games against Eastern Michigan have been postponed due to COVID-19 concerns with Eastern Michigan’s roster. With the postponement, the Bobcats have time to put in extra work and grow even more this week. Coach Deane Webb said there may now be time for one or two more extra practices.
“There’s a lot of things we left out there defensively,“ Webb said. “There’s a lot of things that need to be cleaned up.”