Women's Volleyball |
Nov. 23, 2007
STOCKTON, Calif.---Jessie Nevitt had 14 kills, helping Cincinnati overcome a .192 hitting performance in a three-game Bearcat sweep of Saint Mary's on Friday night in the opening match-up of the 29th annual Community Bankers Classic, hosted by the University of Pacific. UC's 30-26, 30-28, 30-27 win inches it within one victory of a 13th consecutive 20-win season.
Cincinnati was able to overcome match highs of 19 kills and seven blocks from Saint Mary's Megan York by getting at least eight kills from four different players. In addition to Nevitt's count, Lindsay Upton and Jessica Elley tacked on nine apiece, while Stephanie Niemer had eight. UC (19-11) also gained an advantage by outscoring the Gaels (14-13) by an 11-3 count from the service line.
Game one was tight throughout, providing a preview for the rest of the evening's action. The Gales had an early lead of two, before the duo of Nevitt and Niemer blocked York to put UC up for the first time at 9-8. Heading into the game's media timeout, Jenny Custer banged one of her four aces and Cincinnati had a 15-13 lead. Later, Nevitt put down one of her six game one kills to force Saint Mary's into a timeout with the Bearcats in front 22-19. UC opened a four-point cushion of 26-22 on an Elley kill, but back-to-back kills by Lauren Jaeckel brought the Gaels within two into a Bearcat timeout. Out of the break, kills by Nevitt, Niemer and Custer brought the Bearcats to game point and a Gaels' error gave UC the opening frame by a 30-26 count.
The second game was tied at 10 until the Bearcats ripped off six straight, only to be countered by Saint Mary's scoring six of the next seven to make it a 17-16 score. Cincinnati continued to hold the lead and turned a two-point cushion into a five-point edge with three straight points. Leading by a 26-21 score, a UC error and two kills by York forced the Bearcats into their first timeout. Saint Mary's had a service error out of the break, but then scored the next four in a row, three on kills by York to take a 28-27 lead. Needing to come up big, UC turned to two of its talented freshman and they delivered. Niemer started the rally with a kill from Annie Fesl and the latter got into the act on the next play to set up Bearcat game point. Niemer then stepped back to the service line and nailed her 55th ace of the year to give the Bearcats a two games to none lead.
The third and final game was actually the closest of all, featuring a match-high 13 ties scores and three lead changes. Cincinnati led much of the early action and a kill by Elley sent them into the media timeout leading 15-11. Saint Mary's would rally, though, reclaiming the lead at 20-19 on a Bearcat error. Back and forth the score swung until the game reached 25, when a UC triple block and back-to-back aces by Fesl gave the Bearcats a three-point lead. SMC got back with two on a pair of Bearcat miscues but the Gales committed a service error to give UC match point and Upton and Elley combined on a block of the next play to give the Bearcats the victory.
Libero Jaime Frey and Fesl led the UC defense with 13 digs apiece, with the latter's count matching a career-high. Nevitt's four blocks led her team, while Upton and Niemer added three apiece.
Saint Mary's libero Nikki Gonzalez led all players with 15 digs, while York and Shannon Lowell combined for 12 blocks.
With the win, UC advances to the Championship match of the Community Bankers Classic, which takes place at 8 p.m. PT on Saturday. The Bearcats' opponent will be either tournament hosts Pacific or Fresno State.
Jessie Nevitt took over sixth place on UC's career blocks list with 484, one better than Barb Mannix's total.
Stephanie Niemer climbed into a tie for eighth on UC's single season aces list with 55. She is tied with Tammie Indiciani (1983).