Bearcats Open 2007 With Win Over Southern Miss|
Aug. 24, 2007
CINCINNATI---Cincinnati used a balanced offensive attack to score its fifth straight season-opening victory, sweeping Southern Miss on Friday night in the opening night of the State Farm Bearcats Invitational presented by the Vernon Manor Hotel. UC toppled its former Conference USA foe by scores of 30-25, 30-23, 30-25.
Jenny Custer led all players with 15 kills, while Jessie Nevitt and Jessica Elley tallied 13 apiece. Annie Fesl, making her collegiate debut, handed out 55 assists from her setter position. The defense was also up to task as the Bearcats finished with 10 team blocks, including seven by Nevitt. Jaime Frey posted 18 digs from her libero slot, while Elley tacked on 14 digs for her 17th career double-double.
Mari Ruddick was the only Golden Eagle player in double figure kills, finishing with 12 on .348 hitting. Maia Ivanova led her team with 15 digs, while Ashley Petrinec tacked on 10.
"We will take a win," commented UC head coach Reed Sunahara. "We did some good things, it wasn't pretty the whole match, but we made runs and executed well. I think we still have a long way to go, but it's a good start."
The hosts jumped to a 7-3 lead early in game one, but watched the Golden Eagles come back to take a 10-9 advantage. The Bearcats continued to trail until a 7-0 run pushed them into the lead to stay at 21-17. Southern Miss clawed back to within 26-25, but three Custer kills and a UC block accounted for the final four points of the game. UC's defense was key as it held the Golden Eagles to a paltry .025 hitting in the game.
A 4-1 Southern Miss start to game two forced an early UC timeout, but the stoppage didn't have much affect as the Eagles pushed their lead to 10-6. Cincinnati woke up though, as three kills and two blocks by Nevitt highlighted a 10-0 Bearcats run. The Bearcats wouldn't be seriously challenged for the duration as a late 5-0 run keyed the closing of the frame. Cincinnati hit a match-best .359 in the game, sparked by seven kills and .467 hitting in the frame by Nevitt.
Southern Miss again took control at the outset of game three, but fell victim to an 8-2 run that put the Bearcats in front to stay at 14-9. UC built its lead as high as seven at 25-19 and closed out the evening with Nevitt's 13th kill.
The Bearcats will face a busy day on Saturday, playing their final two matches in the tournament. UC will battle Oakland at noon, before taking on Maryland in the tournament final at 7:30 p.m.