Women's Volleyball |
Aug. 29, 2009
SALT LAKE CITY - The University of Cincinnati volleyball team battled back from a two sets to none deficit, but could not rally to win the fifth set as it fell to Arizona State at the Utah Classic, 17-25, 20-25, 25-20, 25-16, 7-15. Junior Stephanie Niemer (Erlanger, Ky./St. Henry) and sophomore Missy Harpenau (Cincinnati, Ohio/Mother of Mercy) posted 21 kills and 10 digs and 20 kills and 10 digs, respectively, to lead UC.
Neither team could create separation from one another in the first set until a pair of Sun Devil blocks spurred a five-point run, giving Arizona State an 11-7 lead. A kill by freshman Jordanne Scott (Indianapolis, Ind./Lawrence North) brought UC within three points, 11-8, but the Bearcats could not chip into the deficit any further as ASU slowly pulled away for a 25-17 opening set win. The Sun Devils collected nine blocks in the first set compared to just two for UC.
The Sun Devils continued to put pressure on UC and another four-point rally in the early stages of the second set placed ASU in front, 8-4. The Bearcats cut the deficit to one point on a freshman Becca Refenes (Westland, Mich./Lutheran Westland) kill, but Arizona State slowly built its lead back to four points, 20-16, forcing UC to use its second timeout of the set. A kill by Niemer and a block by Harpenau and Refenes cut the deficit to two points, 22-20, but UC could not capitalize on its opportunities as back-to-back Bearcat attack errors and an ASU block gave the Sun Devils a 25-20 set-two win.
After falling behind early, Cincinnati clawed back and saw itself in a see-saw battle in the third set. There were 15 ties to the point where consecutive kills by Scott and Niemer put UC in front, 20-18, forcing a Sun Devil timeout. A big block by Refenes and junior Annie Fesl (Arlington Heights, Ill./John Hersey) was followed by a Harpenau kill, giving Cincinnati a 25-20 win.
Tied at nine in the fourth set, Cincinnati went on an 11-3 run to take a commanding 20-12 lead. During the run, Niemer had three kills and both Harpenau and Scott put down two kills apiece. From that point, UC cruised to a 25-16 fourth-set win, taking the match to a fifth set.
Arizona State recaptured the momentum in the fifth set courtesy of its blocking and the Sun Devils took 11 of the first 14 points to take an 11-3 lead. The deficit proved to be too much to overcome as UC dropped the fifth set, 15-7.
Cincinnati concludes the Utah Classic tonight at 9 p.m. EDT against No. 17 Utah. The Utes defeated Arizona State in three sets on Friday night, before taking care of UC-Riverside in three sets in the first match of the day on Saturday.