Women's Volleyball |
Aug. 26, 2007
CINCINNATI--For the final two games of its championship final against Maryland, the University of Cincinnati played at a very high level, ultimately topping the Terps in four games on Saturday night at Fifth Third Arena. The 30-25, 27-30, 30-15, 30-20 win gives UC its fourth State Farm Bearcats Invitational presented by the Vernon Manor Hotel title in the last five years.
Tournament MVP Jessie Nevitt once again led the charge, pacing all players with 18 kills and adding six blocks. Nevitt was one of five UC players to finish with double figure kills on the night. UC rolled through the final two games of the night, hitting a combined .342 during the stretch to triumph.
Jenny Custer, one of three UC players on the all-tournament team added 16 kills, just one better than Jessica Elley, the Bearcats' third all-tournament choice. The Bearcats' (3-0) freshman duo of Stephanie Niemer (13) and Lindsay Upton (10) each reached double figure kills for the first time in their respective careers.
"We caught fire in the last two games and really executed well," UC head coach Reed Sunahara said. "I thought we played pretty well after coming back in the second game. Tonight we played our best match of the tournament and it gives us something to build on."
Cincinnati jumped to a 10-6 lead in game one and held the lead throughout the entire frame. A kill by Beth Gillming forced a UC timeout as the Terps cut the deficit to 25-23 late in the going. Niemer and Elley were the heroes down the stretch, tallying two kills each to send UC to a game one victory. Hitting was strong for both squads in the frame as UC hit .348 to Maryland's .341.
The second game was a fierce battle that featured eight ties and three lead changes, but poor hitting by the Bearcats. UC slid to .087 in the frame, but still had a chance to win late. With the score knotted at 23, Maryland scored three straight to force a Bearcat timeout. UC came back to get within 28-26, but an error and a Maryland kill by Gillming evened the match at a game apiece.
The Bearcats looked like a different team in game three, battering the Terps both offensively and defensively. On offense, UC hit a match-best .351, while limiting Maryland to -.056 on the defensive end. The game featured a pair of sizable runs for the Bearcats, the first being an 8-0 surge that snapped a two-all tie. Later leading 16-9, UC scored seven straight to put the visitors in a 23-9 hole.
The finale was close early, but turned into a rout as UC pushed an early two-point lead into an 11-point cushion on the strength of a 13-4 run. Late in the going, Custer dropped her final three kills of the night to seal the deal for the Bearcats.
Jaime Frey led five UC defenders in digs with 14, while Elley, Custer and Annie Fesl all added 11. Natalie Dossman tacked on 10 for the Bearcats.
Maggie Schmelzle had 17 kills and 15 digs in a losing effort for Maryland (2-1). Gillming added 13 kills and 16 digs for the Terps.
The Bearcats open a six-match road swing on Tuesday, traveling to Morehead State for a 7 p.m. contest.
State Farm Bearcats Invitational All-Tournament Team
Mari Ruddick-Southern Miss
Jessie Nevitt-Cincinnati (MVP)