Tournament Information Page
MILWAUKEE---Cincinnati couldn't protect a two games to none lead as the Bearcats dropped a heart breaking five-game match to Wisconsin-Milwaukee on Friday night at UWM's Panther Invitational. The defeat is UC's second five-game setback of the year and drops the squad's record to 6-3 on the season.
A career-best 19 kills from freshman Stephanie Niemer wasn't enough for the Bearcats as they hit a combined .061 in the last two games and finished the match at .189. The Panthers (7-1) were triumphant by scores of 28-30, 22-30, 30-26, 30-26, 15-10, despite hitting just .162 as a team.
Jenny Custer, with just four kills in the last two matches entering the night, broke the drought with 16 on .308 hitting. Jessie Nevitt and Jessica Elley added 15 kills apiece in the loss for UC.
The Bearcats defense was up the challenge, posting a season-high 13 team blocks, with Nevitt picking up nine. Elley added six, while Custer had five. Libero Jaime Frey nearly made history as she came just two digs short of matching her own school record for digs in a five-game match with 35. Elley tacked on a career-high 24.
Game number one was a tight battle featuring 16 tie scores and six lead changes. Cincinnati jumped to an early 8-4 lead, only to see the see saw battle tilt in Milwaukee's favor as the hosts scored six of the next eight to gain the lead. Back and forth the game went until a Custer kill put the Bearcats up 25-23 and forced a Panther timeout. UWM had another charge in its tank as it scored four of the next six points, causing a UC stoppage at 27-all. Out of the break, kills by Nevitt and Niemer helped the Bearcats clinch a 30-28 win.
The Bearcats led from start to finish in game two, hitting a match-best .325 in the 30-22 triumph. Cincinnati went to work early, forcing a UWM timeout at 5-1 and again at 17-12. The Panthers climbed within three points two different times and scored four in a row late to creep within 26-22. After a Bearcat timeout, the visitors ripped off the last four points, two coming from Niemer, to cap off the win.
Despite a two games to none deficit, it was Milwaukee that had the momentum during game three as it ripped off an early 6-1 run to take a 10-6 advantage. The Panthers would build their lead to as much as eight throughout the game, but would have to withstand a late Bearcat surge to take the win. Down 28-20, the Bearcats scored six of the next eight points, but came up short as Jamie Gabrielsen put down a kill to seal the Panther victory.
The Bearcat hitting woes started to rear its ugly head in the fourth game as UC plummeted to a .061 hitting mark. Cincinnati ran out to a 10-6 lead, but watched a 12-1 Milwaukee run put the Panthers in the driver's seat at 18-11. The Bearcats still had fight in them late, though as they scored four straight to climb within two points at 24-22. Three UC errors proved costly, as the Panthers went up 28-23 and kills by Gabrielsen and Nicole Vilter helped the Panthers off-set kills by Nevitt and Elley.
Milwaukee made the first run of the decisive game five, scoring the first three points, but watched as the Bearcats surged back to take their only lead of the game at 7-6. Cincinnati would use its second timeout following a 5-2 run by the Panthers that pushed the hosts lead to 11-9. Niemer's 19th kill followed after the break, but a Gabrielsen kill and then three Bearcat miscues gave the deciding frame to the Panthers.
Gabrielsen led the Panthers with 18 kills, but needed 73 attempts to do so and finished with a hitting percentage of just .110. Becky Peters added 13 kills and 30 digs, while Vilter had 14 kills. Setter Leanne Felsing had a triple-double for UWM, finishing with 10 kills, 37 assists and 10 digs. Natalie Schmitting had a big night at the net for the Panthers, totaling 10 blocks.
UC is right back in action on Saturday morning, taking on Virginia Tech in the battle for tournament runner-up honors. UWM has already clinched the team title, with the Bearcats and Hokies battling for second, beginning at Noon ET.