ATHENS, Ohio – Virginia (5-5) struggled to find its footing against Ohio (6-4) in a 25-23, 25-18, 25-22, loss to close the Bobcat Invitational on Saturday (Sept. 14).
The Cavaliers led the match in kills 40-36, but 24 attack errors and another eight miscues on the service line gave Ohio the points it needed to pull off the sweep. Jelena Novakovic (Belgrade, Serbia), Jayna Francis (Virginia Beach, Va.) and Sarah Billiard (Matthews, N.C.) paced Virginia with eight kills apiece.
Ohio was led by middle Tia Jimerson, who floored nine kills while not committing an error. She also added a match-high seven blocks.
Set 1: Ohio 25-21
Virginia opened the match firing on all cylinders to build a 16-9 lead. Freshmen Francis and Mattison Matthews (Charleston, S.C.) each racked up three quick kills in the onslaught.
Ohio answered with a 7-0 run in the middle of the set to take an 18-17 lead. The Bobcats continued their momentum to earn the first set behind five kills and an ace from Lizzie Stephens.
Set 2: Ohio 25-18
Virginia’s late struggles in set one carried over into the second as the Cavaliers could not find their rhythm in serve receive. The outcome was an .083 hitting percentage allowing Ohio to seize control of the match. Virginia committed a total of 13 errors, nine in attack, two at the service line, one blocking and one ball handling, in the set.
Set 3: Ohio 25-22
Four early blocks staked Ohio to an 11-6 lead. Virginia slowly closed and drew even with a 3-0 run, capped by a block from Milla Ciprian (St. John’s, Fla.) and Novakovic. Just a few points later, Francis would hammer home a kill to give Virginia a 17-16 lead.
Ohio, however, would score the next four points. Virginia pulled even once more with a 3-0 run, but an Ohio ace and service error saw the Bobcats complete the sweep.
• Virginia hit just .128 in the match, it’s second-lowest mark of the year.
• Francis racked up a career-high 14 digs.
• Kelsey Miller (Crestwood, Ky.) picked up 11 digs to finish in double digits for the ninth time this season.
Virginia returns home to host the Jefferson Cup beginning Friday, Sept. 20. The Cavaliers will welcome Elon, UNCG and Lehigh for the two-day tournament.