Bearcats Topple No. 16 Kentucky In Thriller|
Sept. 7, 2010
CINCINNATI--Cincinnati overcame a huge hurdle and kept its home court winning streak alive with a thrilling five-set win over 16th ranked Kentucky on Tuesday night in Fifth Third Arena. The victory, the Bearcats fourth in a row, stretches the nation's second-longest home court winning streak to 32.
The deciding fifth set was back and forth throughout with UC (7-1) overcoming a 9-6 deficit midway through. A Kentucky block put the Wildcats (4-3) back in front by a 13-12 count, forcing UC's second timeout. Out the break, Becca Refenes dropped her 11th kill of the match to even the score. Cincinnati took advantage of a UK error to set up match point and a Stephanie Niemer kill ended it.
Niemer turned in an outstanding all-around performance in helping UC to its first win over a ranked opponent since an early season triumph over No. 16 Saint Louis last year. UC's senior co-captain tied her season-high with 18 kills and added 11 digs and six blocks for her third double-double of the year. Reigning BIG EAST Player of the Week Missy Harpenau added 13 kills and a match-best 17 digs, while Refenes added 11 kills and Emily Hayden 10.
The Bearcats' defense had one of its best performances of the year with 10.5 blocks. Refenes had seven, on top of Niemer's season-high six. Four UC players reached double-figure digs, including Harpenau and Niemer, along with libero Emily MacIntyre (14) and setter Annie Fesl (11).
UC head coach Reed Sunahara made a key substitution in the second set, as he inserted sophomore Emily Hayden into the line-up on the right side. Hayden played a key role from there, knocking down four kills in set two, three more in set four and another pair in the deciding fifth set.
UK got 13 kills from Blaire Hiler and 12 kills and eight blocks from Lauren Rapp. The Wildcats could not overcome a staggering 19 service errors in the defeat.
The Bearcats return to the court this weekend at the Holiday Inn Classic, hosted by the College of Charleston this weekend. UC will take on the host Cougars on Friday night, before taking on Oregon State and Auburn on Saturday.