Women's Volleyball |
Nov. 22, 2009
LOUISVILLE, Ky. – In its first BIG EAST Championship match, the University of Cincinnati volleyball team fought valiantly but could not overcome 37 errors as it fell to the University of Louisville Cardinals, 3-1 (22-25, 21-25, 25-22, 20-25), Sunday afternoon at the Kentucky International Convention Center.
Junior Stephanie Niemer (Erlanger, Ky./St. Henry) led the Bearcats with 17 kills, while freshman Emily Hayden (Louisville, Ky./Assumption) posted 11 kills and hit .308 and both players were named to the BIG EAST All-Tournament team.
Cincinnati and Louisville were neck-and-neck at the beginning of the first set, until kills by Lola Arslanbekova and Justine Landi helped the Cardinals take a 15-11 lead at the media timeout. After kills by Landi and a Cincinnati attack error placed U of L in front, 17-13, the teams exchanged side outs until a kill by Hayden and a block by Niemer and freshman Jordanne Scott (Indianapolis, Ind./Lawrence North) closed the deficit to two, 21-19, forcing a Louisville timeout. The Bearcats closed its deficit to one point, 21-20, on a Niemer kill, but a pair of UC attack errors down the stretch gave Louisville the 25-22 opening set victory.
Louisville jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the second set, but the Bearcats did not panic. Trailing 4-1, a kill by sophomore Missy Harpenau (Cincinnati, Ohio/Mother of Mercy) made the score 4-2, before senior Jaime Frey’s (Cincinnati, Ohio/Roger Bacon) serving led a five-point run placing UC in front 7-4. The Cardinals eventually knotted the set at 14 and after an exchange of side outs left the score tied at 18, a Landi kill followed by a Bearcats attack error put U of L ahead, 20-18, forcing a Cincinnati timeout. Out of the timeout, the Cardinals extended their lead to five points, 23-18, and that cushion proved to be enough as Louisville went up two games to none with a 25-21 second-set win.
The Cardinals came out of the 10-minute intermission and used two Bearcats attack errors to their advantage and took an 8-4 lead, forcing head coach Reed Sunahara to use his first timeout of the set. A pair of kills by Niemer and freshman Becca Refenes (Westland, Mich./Lutheran Westland) coupled with a junior Lindsay Upton (Cincinnati, Ohio/Mount Notre Dame) ace helped the Bearcats overcome the early deficit and tie the set at 13. A Harpenau ace gave Cincinnati a 17-15 lead, but UC could not increase its lead past two until a Landi attack error saw the Bearcats lead move to 23-20. Down the stretch, Hayden delivered two kills to close out a 25-22 Bearcats win in the third set.
Tied at six in the fourth set, two Louisville kills and a Bearcats error placed the Cardinals on top, 9-6, but the Bearcats hung tough and only trailed by two points, 15-13, heading into the media timeout. The Bearcats cut their deficit to one point on three occasions, with the last at 20-19, but two attack errors and an Arslanbekova kill widened the Cardinal lead to four points, 23-19. A Niemer kill made the score 23-20, but a Louisville block precluded Arslanbekova’s 25th kill of the day which gave the Cardinals a 25-20 fourth-set win.
Scott added 15 kills and hit .435, while Harpenau added 12 kills and 11 digs for her 14th kill-dig double-double of the season. Frey led the Bearcats with 15 digs.
Cincinnati has one final home match on Saturday, Nov. 28, at 2 p.m. against Miami (OH).