Akron tipped the ball into an empty pocket on Ohio’s side with hopes to expand on its lead in the second set. However, it did not take into account the agility of Ciara Livingway.
Livingway, who had just served, ran from the backline and dove headfirst for the ball. She made just enough contact to save the play and open the door for another Bobcat kill. It was an impressive moment, but physicality like this would not be the only way Livingway helped her team in Ohio’s 3-2 win over Akron on Friday.
The defensive specialist and libero didn’t start the match, but that didn’t make her any less important. As the Bobcats entered later sets, Livingway’s presence helped them remain cool and collected.
Livingway finds that the pressure of a match helps her thrive. The extra noise and measures beyond her control help her bring out the best in herself.
“I always like playing in high pressure situations, so I always remind myself (that), ‘This is fun and I’m having a good time,’” Livingway said.
The junior ended the night with two assists and 14 digs — the third most on the Bobcats. Livingway also saw success with her short serve against Akron and tied for a team-high two service aces. Although her stats do not jump off the page, Livingway still provided an irreplaceable aspect to Ohio.
She likes to package her nervous energy into excitement so she can remain aggressive while on the court. Livingway is always looking for a ball to dig or a pass to send in order to provide for her teammates.
Livingway’s impact goes beyond her physicality, though. She also provides for her team mentally by bringing a serene air into The Convo.
“People go to me when they’re feeling stressed,” Livingway said. “I’m that (person) for those people when they need it.”
Ohio faced multiple tense moments against Akron. Sets two and four both ran to 26 points due to the teams’ relentless rallying. Athletes were running in and out of the tape in an attempt to secure the set for their team.
Despite the Bobcats not winning those sets, Livingway kept her head high. She found that her team’s fight was just as valuable because it helped them win in the end.
Ohio coach Geoff Carlston also saw the peace Livingway brings to the court. He thought that she was more quiet than usual in set one but settled in as the night went on. Livingway took the opportunity she was given and made the most of it.
“She’s very confident,” Carlston said. “Just that voice, that poise under pressure, she’s kind of who you want on the floor.”
Carlston also acknowledged that Livingway has been key to the team as of late. Livingway had not played in a majority of the Bobcats’ matches this season, but has been keeping things under control in the last five.
Livingway was pivotal in Ohio’s past five wins and will continue to be due to her calm yet aggressive style of play. Her knack for keeping things in perspective will help Ohio as it works to continue its winning streak.