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Ohio volleyball players celebrate a scored point during the game against Kent State on Thursday, November 7, 2019, in The Convo. Ohio won the match 3-0.

Volleyball: Ohio gives Kent State its first road loss on senior day

The air was heavy in The Convo on Tuesday night as senior Vera Giacomazzi stepped onto her home court for the final time as an Ohio athlete. Giacomazzi and the Bobcats pushed their emotions aside and secured a 3-1 win over Kent State (12-7, 12-7 Mid-American Conference). Ohio’s win Tuesday locked the Golden Flashes out of the MAC tournament. 

Ohio was able to claim set one 25-23 despite the Golden Flashes outhitting it .290 to .281. Ohio kept this in mind for the remainder of the match. It knew it needed to crank up the defense to secure another set win. 

The Bobcats (10-7, 10-7 MAC) did just that. They kept the lead for the entirety of the second set after jumping out ahead early and never letting up to Kent State. The Bobcats only gave up seven kills in the second set and dominated 25-13.

Set three was a different story. Kent State bounced back and forced the Bobcats into easy errors. Giacomazzi sent a back-set to the scorer’s table, and Tia Jimerson mistimed a kill, which gave Kent State free points to keep the set too close for comfort. Players from both teams were scrambling and running into walls to keep rallies alive. The Golden Flashes screamed with excitement as they tore down Ohio’s lead bit by bit.

Ohio was at set point, but it fumbled the chance to close out the match. A flood of errors started on a miscue from Sam Steele and continued on with three consecutive attack errors by Caitlin O’Farrell. With the set tied at 24-24, Kent State landed two kills in a row to seal the deal. The Golden Flashes walked away with their only set win of the night 26-24.

The Bobcats needed to step up if they wanted to give Giacomazzi the parting gift she deserved. Kent State had won the set, but the ball was in Ohio’s court. 

Mariana Rodrigues started the set with three separate kills to keep Ohio afloat, but the kills soon faded into the background. Back-to-back hitting errors set Ohio back, and it finished with seven errors in the fourth set.

The fourth set was tied at 22-22 when Ohio made two consecutive kills to build a small but workable lead. At match point, Olivia Margolies smacked down the final kill to secure the win over Kent State. 

Ohio’s win bucked a trend. Kent State was undefeated on the road before Tuesday and is second in the MAC East. In four sets, Ohio shut down a team that should have dominated them.

“That’s one of the hardest working teams in the MAC,” coach Deane Webb said. 

As for Giacomazzi, she ended her senior day with 47 assists, 13 digs, and two block assists. Her final match in The Convo was emotional, but she holds her head high.

“Walking off the court after the last game in The Convo, it’s tough,” Giacomazzi said, “But we made the best of it, and I’m really happy with it.”

Giacomazzi’s season isn’t finished yet, however. Ohio will travel to DeKalb, Illinois, to face Northern Illinois in its last regular season series March 26-27. 

@ashleybeachy_

ab026319@ohio.edu

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