Women's Volleyball |
Oct. 18, 2008
CINCINNATI - The University of Cincinnati's volleyball team kept on rolling as the Bearcats defeated the Louisville Cardinals in four sets (25-14, 25-14, 21-25, 25-21) Saturday evening in Fifth Third Arena for the squad's seventh consecutive victory. Sophomore Annie Fesl (Arlington Heights, Ill./John Hersey) orchestrated the offensive beautifully as Cincinnati (17-5; 5-2 BIG EAST) out-hit Louisville (8-10; 4-3 BIG EAST) .343 to .243.
Three kills by senior Jessica Elley (Gilbert, Ariz./Gilbert), a kill and three consecutive service aces by sophomore Stephanie Niemer (Erlanger, Ky./St. Henry), and back-to-back kills from freshman Missy Harpenau (Cincinnati, Ohio/Mother of Mercy) aided an early Bearcat surge that put Cincinnati on top, 11-5. Two kills by Niemer and a service ace by Fesl capped off a run that gave the Bearcats their biggest lead of the set to that point, 18-8. Ahead by a score of 22-14, consecutive kills off the block by Niemer followed by a triple block from Fesl, Niemer and senior Jessie Nevitt (Kennesaw, Ga./Kennesaw Mountain) capped off an impressive 25-14 opening set triumph. The Bearcats collectively hit .500 in the opening set, which included Niemer's .667 clip that lead to seven kills.
A back-and-forth second set was the trend in the opening stages of the second set until the Bearcats created some separation because of their defense. Cincinnati dug up a series of balls to keep rallies alive, which eventually resulted in a series of kills by Elley, Harpenau, and Niemer. Holding on to a one-point lead, 12-11, Harpenau mounted a charge that included a kill and two service aces, which pushed the Cincinnati cushion to six points, 17-11. Holding on to a five-point lead, 20-15, Cincinnati scored five straight points to close out the set, 25-15.
A Cardinal block and a Bearcat attack error gave Louisville a third-set lead, 7-5, its first lead of the match. Cincinnati used a mini spurt to take the lead, 10-9, but the Cardinals quickly recaptured the advantage and led by as many as three points, 17-14. Consecutive kills by Nevitt, followed by a Harpenau kill down the seam and a Cardinal attack error put the Bearcats in front, 18-17. Louisville responded with three straight points to switch the score in Cardinals favor, 20-18, forcing a Cincinnati timeout. Cincinnati battled back to tie the score at 20-20, but Louisville used three kills and a block to take the third set, 25-21.
Neither team held a lead of more than two points in the fourth set until two kills from Nevitt gave the Bearcats a 15-12 advantage. After Louisville cut the Cincinnati lead to one point, 16-15, two kills apiece by Niemer and Elley extended the Cincinnati lead to four points, 20-16, forcing a Louisville timeout. Ahead by three points, 24-21, the Bearcats went to their go-to player in Nevitt to stamp shut the fourth set, 25-21.
Niemer led the way offensively with 18 digs, while Nevitt, Elley and Harpenau added 15 kills, 14 kills, and 12 kills, respectively. Harpenau also registered her third double-double of the season with a season-high 17 digs. Fesl joined Harpenau with her third double-double of the season with 59 assists and 10 digs. Louisville came into the match as the fourth-best blocking team in the country, averaging 2.9 bps and the Bearcats and Cardinals finished with six blocks apiece for the match.
Cincinnati plays its final mid-week regular-season contest of the season on Tuesday, Oct. 21, when Morehead State rolls into Fifth Third Arena for a 7:30 p.m. start.