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Ohio University outside hitter, Mariana Rodrigues (5), hits the ball during the home match against Central Michigan University. (FILE)

Volleyball: Teamwork has created individual milestones

Teamwork makes the dream work, and the milestones reached by two of Ohio’s hitters in the past two nights are a testament to that. 

Tia Jimerson is a known power source for Ohio and has been ever since her arrival in 2017. The reigning Mid-American Conference Player of the Year and Co-Defensive Player of the Year has been a leader on and off of the court for the Bobcats. The senior reached 1000 career kills, a milestone few Bobcats have reached, during the March 16 match at Kent State. 

For the middle blocker to do so is an incredible feat in and of itself because the focus of her position is not rooted in getting kills but rather getting set to block the other team’s attacks. 

Jimerson’s feat also puts her in contention to become a member of the top ten all-time kill leaders for the Bobcats. With there still being time in the season, she has the ability to surpass Lizzie Stephens’ 1,007 career kills and take 10th place for her own 

“It didn’t feel real when the coaches told me, but I am very grateful for it” Jimerson said. “It just shows all the hard work that me and Vera (Giacomazzi) have put in these past four years.”

Giacomazzi and Jimerson are both members of the senior class that is wrapping up their final season as Bobcats. The success of Ohio’s dynamic duo is based in their strong communication with each other and their teammates. Both have an immense leadership presence for the Bobcats and Jimerson understands how important it is to express to her teammates that she has their back during matches. 

The energy from these players is well received and it allows other Bobcats to reach feats of their own, even if the match is stressful. In the March 17 match against Toledo, Mariana Rodrigues picked up a season and career-high 26 kills.

Due to Lauren Park’s injury, Rodrigues had to adjust to a new rotation for the night, but the support from her teammates made it all the much easier for her. 

“I think my teammates help,” said Rodrigues, “they are helping me every time because even though I was an outside, I was in a two rotation outside.”

Rodrigues is in her first season at Ohio and has only been playing with Giacomazzi and Jimerson for a brief time, but she meshes with them well. 

Coach Deane Webb also recognizes how important the partnership between Jimerson and Giacomazzi has been for the Bobcats. The team prioritizes allowing leadership opportunities to all its athletes and does not have captains. But, as the season nears its endpoint, Webb wanted to hear from his players who they wanted to lead them into the MAC Tournament. 

“Those were the two names” Webb said. 

Their success comes from each other, but Giacomazzi and Jimerson aren’t exclusive on the court. The desire to win as a team exhibited by the two has opened up opportunities for all of the Bobcats and will leave a lasting impact after they graduate. With Rodrigues having experienced this level of play, it brings hope for another dynamic duo to rise in the coming years. 


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