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Ohio University setter Vera Giacomazzi (No. 6) sets the ball to middle hitter Tia Jimerson during the home game against Central Michigan University on Saturday, Jan. 23, 2021, in Athens, Ohio. 

Volleyball: Lineup changes give different Bobcats a chance to shine

Ohio made some major changes to its lineup Thursday night against Buffalo. 

Despite the changes, the Bobcats still swept the Bulls 3-0 (25-15, 25-21, 25-23) at home in The Convo. The Bulls (0-7, 0-7 Mid-American Conference) kept it interesting, especially after taking a 20-14 lead in the third set. However, the Bobcats (3-2, 3-2 Mid-American Conference) prevailed, winning their third match of the season.  

Star middle blocker Tia Jimerson sat on the sidelines sporting a short medical boot on her foot during the match Thursday. This is not the first time Jimerson has had to miss matches due to an injury during her collegiate career. In 2018, Jimerson missed four weeks of gameplay due to a fractured tibia in her left leg. 

This forced a couple Bobcats, including middle blocker Dahlias Bouyer , to step up for the first time this season. Bouyer played in 28 matches and 96 sets last season. She put up big numbers in the 2019-2020 season, including 171 kills, but had yet to start in a match this season until today. 

Ohio head coach Deane Webb wasn’t fazed by his team’s changes. 

“We’ve had so many lineup changes,“ Webb said. “I’m not even sure what is normal at this point.”

In the second and third matches this season, setter Vera Giacommazi sat out after earning MAC setter of the year the previous season. This gave freshman setter Tria McLean a chance to shine. McLean stepped up big in these two matches, totaling 97 assists for the Bobcats. 

Veteran players on the team have taken notice at how well young players are stepping up and showing out for the Bobcats. Senior Macy Reihing is impressed with how well her teammates have adjusted. 

“They’ve done a really good job of, you know, growing up and being on this team and being leaders,“ Reihing said. “Got to give them credit for that.”

Redshirt freshman Caitlin O’Farrell is also impressed with her teammates gameplay and work ethic in matches. 

“We have a lot of new people on the court,“ O’Farrell said. “They’re all doing a really good job of stepping up and stepping into the roles that they need to.”

There will most likely be even more changes to the lineup as the Bobcats adjust different components of their game throughout the rest of the season. Webb says there are still a few aspects of the game that Ohio needs to work on. 

“(We had) too many unforced errors, too many balls that we just hit out of bounds or in the net,“ Webb said. “It’s just more about getting our feet to the ball and making the right decisions.” 

Ohio will have a chance to make those right decisions Friday at 2 p.m. when it takes on Buffalo for game two at The Convo. 


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