Volleyball Drops Heartbreaker in Conference Opener|
Sept. 27, 2013
CINCINNATI – The University of Cincinnati volleyball team fell 3-1 (25-22, 17-25, 25-20, 25-23) to Temple University on Friday evening in Fifth Third Arena. The Bearcats out-hit the Owls 54 kills to 49 and recorded a .162 hitting percentage while holding their opponents to a .158 clip.
Freshmen led the way for the Bearcats, with four recording career high numbers. While not a career-high, freshman Ciara Hill (Bolingbrook, Ill./Bolingbrook) led all players with 17 kills.
Mallory Blauser (Round Rock, Texas/Round Rock Christian Academy) led the way with a career-high 15 kills while Breanna Barksdale (Chula Vista, Calif./Eastlake) had a career-high 10.
Shelby Green (Dripping Springs, Texas/Dripping Springs) totaled a career-best 21 digs while Kristin Conor (Lone Tree, Colo./Highlands Ranch) had a career-high 14 digs to go with 42 assists for her first-career double-double. Barksdale also added a career-high six blocks to her efforts.
The Bearcats broke through in the second game with a 25-17 win to even the match at one game apiece after falling in the opening set. UC stormed out of the gate, scoring six straight points for an early 6-0 lead and forcing a Temple timeout before the visitor’s had even scored a point. UC had three kills during the run, including two by junior Me’Ashah Nicholson (Shiloh, Ill./Belleville Althoff). Cincinnati used a kill by Blauser and two TU errors to balloon the lead to 18-6 and looked to be in command of the match. With the Bearcats up 24-14 and serving for the game, the Owls looked to mount a comeback, scoring three consecutive points and forcing UC head coach Molly Alvey to take a timeout. The Bearcats regrouped during the timeout and forced a TU error on the next play to win the game 25-17. Blauser led all players with six kills in the set and Cincinnati combined for a .324 hitting percentage.
The Bearcats and the Owls were locked in a tough battle throughout the first game until TU’s Gabriella Matautia, a preseason All-American Athletic Conference pick, put away two kills to break a 19-19 tie and give Temple a 21-19 lead. Barksdale recorded six kills and two blocks in the set and had a hand in the final three UC points. The freshman also hit at a .500 clip with only one attacking error. Conor had eight assists.
Back-to-back solo blocks by Nicholson tied the third game at 8-8 but Temple responded to score five of the next six points and take a 13-9 lead. UC made an effort to close the gap late in the game, using kills by sophomore Morgan Allred (Carrolton, Texas/Hebron) and Blauser and a TU error to get within 21-17, but the Owls answered with three points of their own and eventually took the set 25-20. Hill paced the team with six kills while Nicholson and Barksdale each had two blocks.
Cincinnati looked strong heading into the must-win fourth game. Nicholson recorded back-to-back service aces to help the Bearcats score four consecutive points and take an 8-2 lead, but the Owls slowly climbed back into the game, getting to within 14-13 after a UC attack error. Alvey called a timeout to reorganize her troops, and the team responded with kills by Hill and Barksdale to go ahead 16-13. Temple hung around, however, and scored two-straight points to win the set 25-23 and take the match 3-1.
The Bearcats will be back in Fifth Third Arena on Sunday when they play host to conference foe University of Memphis Tigers at 1 p.m.