Women's Volleyball |
Sept. 14, 2013
CINCINNATI – Sophomore Amelia Wegman (Aurora, Ill./Rosary) recorded her first-career double-double with a career-high 19 kills and a career-high 15 digs, but it was not enough as the University of Cincinnati volleyball team fell 3-2 (25-23, 22-25, 15-25, 25-13, 25-13) to Northern Kentucky University in the final match of the UC Invitational at Fifth Third Arena on Saturday afternoon. The Bearcats hit season-high totals in just about every statistical category and several players added career-best efforts.
Cincinnati logged a.256 hitting percentage while hitting 63 kills off 58 assists, all season-high marks. Defensively, it tied recorded 57 digs and a season-best 10 blocks.
Individually, seven Bearcats recorded at least one career-high mark, led by Wegman who nearly doubled her previous best marks for kills and digs. Freshman Ciara Hill (Bolingbrook, Ill./Bolingbrook) recorded her first career double-double as well with new high marks of 17 kills and 10 digs. Junior Me’Ashah Nicholson (Shiloh, Ill./Belleville Althoff) had a career-high 16 kills while freshman Kristin Conor (Lone Tree, Colo./Highlands Ranch) shattered her old marks, dishing out 52 assists and collecting nine digs.
The strong play helped Cincinnati win two sets in the game, the first time it has done so this season. NKU won the first set, but UC tied it up in the second and took a 2-1 lead after a dominant third game. The Bearcats dropped the fourth game and almost pulled off a come-from-behind win in the final game before ultimately falling 3-2.
Playing in their first fifth set of the season, the Bearcats fell behind 14-10 and had their backs against the wall with the Norse serving for the match. Cincinnati would not die and nearly pulled off the upset, scoring three straight points on a kill by Nichiolson, a block by Nicholson and junior Madi Lang (Commerce Township, Mich./Florida Atlantic) and a NKU attacking error, but the Norse got a kill on their last opportunity and won the set 15-13.
The first game was a story of runs as both teams managed to string together at least three points on multiple occasions. Cincinnati used two kills by freshman Samantha Schrenker (Elmhurst, Ill./York Community), a kill by Wegman and a service ace by Hill to score four consecutive points and jump ahead 18-16, forcing an NKU timeout. The Norse responded with six points of their own for a 22-18 lead before the Bearcats connected for three points to get within one at 22-21. UC tried for one more scoring run, stopping NKU’s set point attempt twice before the Norse connected on a kill to end the game 25-23. Cincinnati hit .296 in the first game with 13 kills. Wegman paced the offense with five kills while Conor dished out 11 assists.
The Bearcats finally broke through in the second game with an emphatic 25-22 victory. The home team hit 16 kills to Northern’s 11 and had 22 digs. The two teams played evenly matched through a majority of the game until five straight points UC points, and two burned NKU timeouts, had the Bearcats surging at 22-18. The Norse pushed to within 23-22, but on its first set point opportunity, Nicholson pounded the ball over the net to give UC the victory and tie the match at 1-1.
Wegman paced the Bearcats to a dominant 25-15 win in the third game. The score was tied at 8-all when UC rallied off seven straight points, including three kills by the sophomore, to jump ahead 14-8. The good fortune continued for Wegman who hit two more kills during a 4-0 UC run to bring the score to 23-14 and Cincinnati was able to close out the game with a block by freshman Breanna Barksdale (Chula Vista, Calif./Eastlake). Wegman finished the set with seven kills and four digs while Hill added four kills and Conor contributed 12 assists.
Despite the loss, the Bearcats will end the UC Invitational with many positives and head into the next tournament with confidence. Cincinnati will next head to East Lansing, Mich., where it will face Duquesne, Eastern Michigan, and Michigan State in the Michigan State Tournament on Sept. 20 and 21. The Bearcats’ first match will be against Duquesne at 4:30 p.m. on Friday.