Niemer Carries UC to BIG EAST/Big Ten Challenge Title with 32 Kills|
Sept. 18, 2010
LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Paced by senior outside hitter Stephanie Niemer's 32 kills, the University of Cincinnati won the BIG EAST/Big Ten Challenge with a 26-24, 25-22, 25-20 sweep of Purdue in collegiate volleyball action Saturday afternoon in Cardinal Arena. The win follows UC's five-set upset of No. 5 Illinois Friday evening.
In all, Niemer scored 36 of 57.5 points for Cincinnati (10-3) adding two aces and three blocks to her totals and was named the tournament MVP. Sophomore middle back Emily Hayden hit .625 with five kills on eight swings and a block. Freshman libero Emily McIntyre and senior setter Annie Fesl joined Niemer on the all-tournament squad. Purdue (9-2) was paced by Ariel Turner's 16 kills.
Up 9-7 in the first set, UC withstood a 6-0 run by the Boilermakers. In a set marked by 15 ties and four lead changes, in the end it was UC's .174 hitting that gave them the first game, 26-24. Purdue had no solution for Niemer, who had 11 kills and hit .429 in the set.
In the second set, although the lead was never more than five, UC dictated the pace of the match, hitting .341 in the set. The Bearcats staved off two Purdue runs, calling timeouts at 21-19 and again at 24-22 before winning the set, 25-22. Niemer continued to fluster the Boilermakers, adding 15 kills. At the break, she had 26 kills to Purdue's combined 30.
In the deciding set, with the score knotted, 13-13, UC ran off three straight points before a Purdue time out at 16-13. Cincinnati stayed focused following the break and rolled to a 25-20 win.
UC's 10-3 record marks the second time in three years Cincinnati has gotten off to such a strong start. The Bearcats close out non-conference play this next Tuesday, Sept. 21 at 7 p.m. as they travel to play Morehead State. Cincinnati returns home to Fifth Third Arena on Friday, Sept. 24 when they face Seton Hall in its BIG EAST Conference season opener.