Women's Volleyball |
Nov. 9, 2007
NOTRE DAME, Ind.---A battle of sisters went the way of Megan Fesl and her Notre Dame teammates as the Fighting Irish topped Cincinnati and younger sister Annie in BIG EAST action on Friday afternoon before a crowd of 7,523 in the Joyce Center. The Bearcats hit just .160 for the day, falling by scores of 33-31, 23-30, 28-30, 20-30. The defeat is a tough one for the Bearcats who will now need help to claim the No. 3 seed for next week's BIG EAST Championship.
After winning a marathon opener, the Bearcats hit just .054 in the second game, and then missed a chance to even the match with a 30-28 defeat in the third game. Notre Dame dominated the finale, hitting .471 in closing out the Bearcats. Jenny Custer was the Bearcats' top offensive performer with 16 kills, but the senior was held to just .190 hitting in the defeat.
The loss drops the Bearcats' record to 17-10 overall and 8-5 in the BIG EAST. Notre Dame evens its overall mark at 12-12 and climbs right back in the thick of the BIG EAST race, sharing an identical 8-5 record in league play.
Justine Stremick had a big afternoon for the Irish, finishing with 16 kills on .367 hitting, along with a match-best eight blocks. Megan Fesl had a big day as well, tallying 14 kills on .429 hitting. Notre Dame hit .299 as a team.
Stephanie Niemer put up 15 kills in the defeat, but hit only .071. Jessie Nevitt added 12 kills and seven blocks, while Jessica Elley had a double-double with 11 kills and 11 digs.
The opening game was a battle to the final whistle with a total of 18 tie scores and seven lead changes. The action was close throughout with a Cincinnati error giving Notre Dame a 15-14 lead at a media timeout. Notre Dame took the first significant lead of the game on a UC error that made it 24-20. Down 26-23, back the Bearcats came, scoring four straight, the last on a Custer kill to take a 27-26 lead. Cincinnati had the first crack at capping the game when Annie Fesl and Nevitt combined on a block to make it 29-28. Stremick kept the hosts alive with two kills until back-to-back kills by Niemer and Custer brought an end to game one courtesy of a 33-31 win.
Cincinnati started game two on a high note, forcing a Notre Dame timeout with a 7-3 lead. Things got tight near the midpoint and a kill by Ashley Tarutis and two UC errors gave Notre Dame the lead for good. Cincinnati got as close as 24-23, but down the stretch, Notre Dame took over at the net with four straight blocks and finished the stretch with a Megan Fesl kill for a 30-23 win.
Game three was a mirror image of the opener with Notre Dame in the lead 15-14 at the media stoppage. Trailing 18-15, the Bearcats roared back to life, running off eight straight points to take a five-point cushion. Out of the break, the Irish scored three of the next four to claw within 24-22 and into a UC timeout. Two Cincinnati errors and a kill by Tarutis put Notre Dame up for good at 27-26. With the score 28-27 Irish, Niemer and Nevitt came up with a block that tied the score, but Stremick and Megan Fesl dropped kills and Notre Dame had a two games to one lead.
The Bearcats were never really in game four, taking timeouts down 8-4 and later at 21-11. Cincinnati's offense struggled throughout the frame with a .105 hitting percentage, while a red hot Irish squad hit .471, committing just one error. Megan Fesl was red hot in the frame, dropping seven kills and hitting .600 for the frame.
The Bearcats will wrap up the 2007 BIG EAST season on Sunday, traveling to DePaul for a 2 p.m. CT meeting. UC will have to rely on other teams to learn their BIG EAST Championship fate as no less than five teams are still in the running for the No. 3 seed.
Jessie Nevitt moved into 10th place on UC's career kills list, passing former teammate Maria Pongonis for the spot. Nevitt has 1,066 kills, one better than Pongonis.
Nevitt also took over eighth on the total blocks list with 467, passing Becky Tenkman.
Jaime Frey moved within one dig of ninth place on UC's single season list with 438. She passes Dani Peterson (423 in 1991) and is one back of Sonja Jackson (1987).