Bearcats Into Tourney Finals With Sweep Of James Madison|
Sept. 4, 2010
CINCINNATI--For the second straight match, junior Missy Harpenau led the University of Cincinnati volleyball team to victory, as the Bearcats blew past James Madison 25-14, 25-15, 25-17 on Saturday afternoon in Fifth Third Arena. Harpenau tallied her first double-double of the season, leading all players with 15 kills and 12 digs, while hitting a stout .667. The victory pushes UC into the Bearcats Invitational presented by Fifth Third Bank Championship match later tonight against Murray State.
After finishing Friday night's match against Kent State with just two blocks, the Bearcats (5-1) bounced back to total eight against the Dukes (3-2). Becca Refenes led the blockers with five, while libero Emily MacIntyre chipped in 10 digs for UC. Lindsay Callahan and Kelly Turner paced James Madison with six kills apiece.
The Bearcats came out of the gates swinging, jumping on the Dukes early and opening a 14-6 lead into a James Madison timeout. Harpenau picked right up where she left off on Friday, tallying four kills and hitting .800 in the opening frame. UC also went to work on the blocks, turning back three James Madison attempts and limiting the Dukes to a .103 hitting performance.
Set number two was more of the same as Cincinnati held JMU to .000 hitting, cruising to the 10-point win. After hitting .346 in the first set, the Bearcats were above the .300 mark again, this time at .303. Harpenau continued to shine in the frame, knocking down three more kills on .750 hitting. The hero of the set for the Bearcats thought was senior Stephanie Niemer who totaled six of her nine kills for the match in that set alone. UC added four more blocks in the frame to push its total to seven through two sets. The hosts were never really challenged in the set, scoring the first four points and later doubling up the Dukes at 18-9 on a kill by Niemer. Cincinnati got to set point at 24-11, but a string of three errors and a kill by JMU's Danielle Erb kept the visitors alive until Niemer dropped a kill to close it.
James Madison scored the first point of the third set for UC's only deficit of the entire match, but the Cats scored 10 of the next 18 to cause a JMU timeout. A 6-2 spurt, keyed by two Refenes aces brought another timeout from the Dukes, but they could get no closer than six as kills by Harpenau on two of the last three points of the match closed the 25-17 UC triumph. UC hit a match-best .433 in the final set, with Harpenau hitting .583 and picking up eight more kills.
The Bearcats, now 2-0 on the weekend, will seek their seventh tournament championship in the eight-year history of the event, tonight at 7:30 p.m., taking on Murray State. The opening match of the evening session will pit James Madison against Kent State at 5 p.m.
Murray State scored its second victory of the tournament in dramatic fashion, turning back Kent State in five sets in the opening match of the day. The Racers won by scores of 25-22, 15-25, 26-24, 20-25, 15-11 to improve to 2-4 on the season.
Becca Lamb had a big day for the Racers, tallying 16 kills and 12 digs and hitting .400 for the match. MSU setter Jade Guo turned in a triple-double, ending the day with 10 kills, 51 assists and 14 digs. Liva Brivule led four Kent State players in double figure kills with 18 and added seven blocks. Maigan Larsen tacked on 15 kills and 12 digs in the defeat.