Bearcats Comeback Falls Short in 3-2 Loss at UCF|
Nov. 17, 2013
ORLANDO, Fla. – The University of Cincinnati volleyball team attempted a late-match comeback against second-ranked UCF but could not complete the game plan, falling 3-2 (24-26, 25-17, 25-14, 21-25, 16-14) to the Knights in Orlando, Fla., on Sunday afternoon. Junior Madi Lang (Commerce Township, Mich./Florida Atlantic) completed the double-double with 36 assists and 10 kills while adding five digs and two blocks. Lang’s 10 kills more than tripled her previous career-high mark of three. Junior Me’Ashah Nicholson (Shiloh, Ill./Belleville Althoff) pitched in 13 kills and a career-high nine blocks.
The Bearcats got on the board first with a 26-24 win in the first set but the Knights fought back to win the second and third sets and take a 2-1 match lead. With their backs against the wall, the Bearcats won the fourth set 25-21 and forced a decisive fifth set. It took extra points before UCF finally came away victorious 16-14 in the final game.
Defensively, Cincinnati was led by junior Jamie Netisingha (Westmont, Ill./Hinsdale Central) who collected 15 digs and freshman Shelby Green (Dripping Springs, Texas/Dripping Springs) who finished with 13. Sophomores Morgan Allred (Carrolton, Texas/Hebron) and Amelia Wegman (Aurora, Ill./Rosary) also had double-digit digs with 12 and 10, respectively.
The Bearcats held the potent UCF offense well below its season average in hitting percentage. The Knights lead the conference with a .247 attacking percentage on the season, but were only able to hit at a .202 clip against Cincinnati.
UC also out-blocked UCF 15.0 to 13.0, tying its season-high for blocks. Me’Ashah Nicholson’s (Shiloh, Ill./Belleville Althoff) nine blocks are a new career high for the junior and rank second on the team for individual blocks in a match this season. She was aided by freshman Ciara Hills’s (Bolingbrook, Ill./Bolingbrook) career-best six blocks and four from freshman Breanna Barksdale (Chula Vista, Calif./Eastlake).
Cincinnati got on the board first with a 26-24 win in the opening set. The Bearcats opened up a 7-3 lead after a four-point scoring run, but the Knights fought back to tie the score at 9-9. The game featured see-saw scoring, with a total of eight ties and six lead changes. Each team scored in waves and there were four separate scoring runs of at least four points. The Knights had pushed their lead to 24-22 and were serving for the game when the Bearcats scored four unanswered points to take the lead and ultimately win the set 26-24. Nicholson had two kills to close out the set and Allred added a service ace for the Bearcats during the run.
In the second and third games, the Knights controlled the tempo and momentum throughout. In the second, the Knights rode a 6-1 scoring run to open up a 9-7 lead and extended it to 20-16 following another four-point run. A kill by Loren Cory ended the game with a 25-17 score.
In the fourth game, UCF opened up a 10-1 lead en route to a 25-14 final score.
The Bearcats got back into the match in the fourth game, thanks in large part to an eight-point scoring run that forced two UCF timeouts and put UC up 19-11. A kill by freshman Samantha Schrenker (Elmhurst, Ill./York Community) gave the Bearcats a 25-21 victory to tie the match at 2-2. Nicholson tallied five kills in the stanza while Wegman had four.
During the decisive fifth set, the Bearcats showed their grit and heart, coming back from a 9-5 deficit to tie the score at 9-all after a kill by Schrenker and four consecutive UCF errors. The Bearcats fended off a UCF match point to force extra points in the set, but ultimately fell 16-14.
The Bearcats will finish out their road schedule on Friday, Nov. 22 when they travel to league-leading Louisville for a match at 7 p.m. at the KFC Yum! Center.