Full Release (PDF)
CINCINNATI, Ohio -- The University of Cincinnati volleyball team opens its 2002 season by participating in the Shamrock Invitational, hosted by Notre Dame. The Bearcats open by facing Cal Poly-SLO on Fri., Aug. 30 at 5:30 pm, then take on the 25th-ranked Irish on Sat., Aug. 31 at 8 pm and finish with Wisconsin-Milwaukee on Sun., Sept. 1 at 2 pm.
The Bearcats are coming off a regular season Conference USA championship in 2001, finishing with a 14-2 league mark, 23-8 overall. They earned their third straight NCAA Tournament appearance, beating Xavier in the first round for UCís first ever tourney win.
UC is led by senior captains MB Bonita Wise and OH Trish Ladusaw. Wise is a three-time all-C-USA honoree who is among UCís career leaders in seven statistical categories, including ranking in sixth in career kills (1,125) and hitting percentage (.278). Ladusaw holds every Bearcat dig record and has been named C-USA Defensive Player of the Year the past two seasons. She is seventh in career kills at UC and is one of four Bearcats with 1,000 kills and 1,000 digs.
The Bearcats have never met Cal Poly-SLO, which received votes in the USA Today/AVCA preseason poll. No. 25 Notre Dame is 2-0 against UC, having knock the Bearcats out of the NCAA Tournament in the first round in 2000. UC is 3-1 against Wisconsin-Milwaukee, including a 2-0 mark in neutral site match-ups.
About Cal Poly: The Mustangs are coming off a 15-11 season where they went 9-9 in the Big West to finish fifth. Five starters return for Steve Schlick, who is 102-66 in his seventh year as head coach. Senior MB Worthy Lien averaged 3.45 kills and 1.71 blocks per game last season and OH Jessica Diepersloot had 3.16 kills and 2.28 digs per game. Cal Poly-SLO received seven points in the preseason USA Today/AVCA poll.
About Notre Dame: The Fighting Irish enter 2002 ranked No. 25 in the preseason poll after going 22-7 last year, including a 12-0 mark in Big East play. Debbie Brown is 276-94 in 11 years at Notre Dame. Notre Dame has four starters returning, including 2001 Big East Setter of the Year Kristen Kinder who averaged 11.80 assists and 2.35 digs per game. Junior MB Kim Fletcher had 2.55 kills and 1.19 blocks per game while hitting .305.
About Wisconsin-Milwaukee: The Panthers return four starters from a team that went 20-8 last season and went 12-2 in the Horizon League, winning the conference tournament to reach the NCAA Tournament. Junior setter Lindsey Spoden averaged 12.28 assists and 2.52 digs per game and senior OH Tari Boutin had 2.49 kills and 0.73 blocks per game. Kathy Litzau is 163-110 entering her 10th season leading the Panthers.
Last Time vs. Notre Dame: No. 19 Notre Dame topped UC, 3-0, in the first round of the NCAA Tournament at Ohio State on Dec. 1, 2000. The Bearcats fell by scores of 15-2, 15-13 and 15-10. Trish Ladusaw had 10 kills and 21 digs for UC Shauntel Miller had a team-high 15 kills. Laura Lauder recorded 42 assists and Bonita Wise had 10 kills. For the Irish, Denise Boylan had 52 assists and 13 digs, Malinda Goralski had15 kills and six blocks and Kristy Kreher added 16 kills and seven digs.
Last Time vs. Wisconsin-Milwaukee: UC held UWM to .111 hitting en route a 30-16, 30-20, 30-24 win on Nov. 11, 2001. Julie DuPont had 10 kills and 12 digs and Trish Ladusaw added seven kills and 13 digs. Bonita Wise recorded 12 kills and Laura Lauder had 31 assists. Fow UWM, Chrissy Schurla and Laura Dallenbach each had eight kills and Lindsey Spoden had 27 assists and 13 digs.
Continued Bearcat Success: Last season continued the tremendous success that Cincinnati volleyball has enjoyed since the creation of Conference USA. The Bearcats won the 2001 regular season C-USA championship after winning division titles the previous two years, making their third-straight trip to the NCAA tournament. UCís quarterfinal win in the C-USA Tournament gave it its seventh-straight 20-win season. UC had three first team All-C-USA selections last year and has had 15 in the last seven years.
Bearcats in Conference USA: In the seven years of Conference USA play, UC volleyball teams have gone 83-23 for a .783 winning percentage. Both the total wins and the percentage are third-best among C-USA schools, trailing Louisville and South Florida. UC has won at least 12 league games in each of the last five seasons.
The Leaders: Senior co-captains Trish Ladusaw and Bonita Wise are the unrivalled leaders of the Bearcats, as the classmates have combined for five first-team all-league honors and have written their names all over the UC record book. Wise is on seven career top 10 lists, including ranking sixth in kills and hitting percentage. Ladusaw owns all of UCís dig records, surpassing the career total last year and owning three of the top four single season marks. She is also in the top 10 in kills, kills per game and attempts.
UC Picked Second in Preseason Poll: The defending Conference USA champion Bearcats were picked to finish second in 2002 in the coachesí preseason poll. Louisville, who finished one match behind UC last season, were picked to win the league. Three-time all-conference pick Bonita Wise was named to the preseason all-C-USA team for the second-stright year.
Freshmen Tradition: UC has won at least a share of the last three C-USA Freshman of the Year awards. Bonita Wise and Laura Lauder each were co-winners of the award in 1999 and 2000, respectively, and Becky Stahl was the unanimous choice last season. Attempting to continue the string in 2002 is UCís best-ever recruiting class, featuring high school all-Americans Maddie Barron, Shannon Parker and Suzi Terrell, as well as Haley King and Lindsey Garrison.
Moving to the Outside: Julie DuPont was named to the C-USA All-Freshmen Team last year as middle blocker after finishing second on the team with 120 blocks, 265 digs and a .236 hitting percentage. This season she will attempt to continue her success as an outside hitter, making the move to get her more offensive chances.
Searching for National Ranking: The Bearcats recieved 12 points in the USA Today/AVCA preseason poll , 39th-best. UC spent the last half of 2001 in the others recieving points category, climbing as high as 26th ad finishing the year at 30th.
Turning Up the D: After holding just two of their first six opponents under .200 hitting, the Bearcats did so in 17 of their last 24 matches in 2001, including nine of the last 12. UC held a 17-2 record when holding a team below .200 and were 6-6 when they did not.The two losses were to Charlotte and DePaul, matches in which UC hit .163 and .095, respectively.
Streaking Through C-USA: Cincinnatiís 14-2 mark in conference matches last season, which equalled 2000ís school-record mark, continued an amazingly successful run. The Bearcats have now won 44 of their last 52 matches against C-USA opponents. Four of the eight losses have been to Louisville.
Ladusaw on the NCAA Digs Chart: Trish Ladusawís career digs per game average of 4.30 ranks her sixth all-time in Division I history. Catalina Suarez, who played for both Kansas and Missouri-Kansas City, holds the record of 5.13, with Kerry House of Loyola Marymount (4.89) standing second. Kylie Hunter of Chattanooga (4.44), Nia Kiggundu of Louisiana-Lafayette (4.41) and Kari Hogancamp of Massachusetts (4.32) round out the top five.
Season of Streaks: From Sept. 23 to Nov. 4, 2001 the Bearcats won a school-record 16-straight matches, including 14 in Conference USA. The streak came on the heels of five consecutive losses, including three to teams ranked in the top 15. The streak of 16 is the third-longest in C-USA history, trailing only the South Florida teams of 2000 (20) and 1997 (17).
Breakthrough Win: Last yearís NCAA first round win over Xavier was UCís first in four trips to the NCAA Tournament. Before that win, game three against Santa Clara in 1999 was the only game UC had won in three matches.
Bearcats In Regional Rankings: Cincinnati finished second the Midwest in the final 2001 regional rankings released by the NCAA. Fellow Conference USA members Louisville, South Florida, DePaul, Houston and Marquette were also ranked. Seven of the other nine teams in the rankings are on the 2002 schedule for UC. The Bearcats were 8-2 vs. teams ranked in their region and 12-7 vs. those ranked in all eight regions. The Bearcats reached No. 1 for the first time in 2000 and finished the year ranked third.
Ladusaw Goes for Another Dig Record: Trish Ladusaw became UCís all-time digs leader last season, surpassing the mark of 1,303 set by Becky Tenkman from 1995-98. Ladusaw now has 1,554 career digs, ranking fifth in Conference USA history, just 292 behind record holder Stephanie Bishop (DePaul, 1998-2001). Ladusaw needs just 49 to jump into second place.
Winning Game Fours: In their 13 matches that were extended past three games in 2001, UC won nine of the game fours, losing only to Charlotte, Saint Louis, Louisville and DePaul. In the nine game four wins, the Bearcats outscored their opponents 270-190 and outhit them .300 to .094.
Toppling a Ranked Foe: The Bearcatsí win at No. 22 Louisville on Oct. 10, 2001 was the first ever over a nationally-ranked team by UC. It was also the first loss suffered by the Cardinals in the month of October since 1998. U of L was 102-17 all-time in Cardinal Arena before the Bearcatsí comeback from an 0-2 deficit.
Bearcat Award Winners: Besides collecting their trophy for the regular season championship, several Bearcats players were honored at the 2001 C-USA Awards Banquet. Trish Ladusaw was named defensive player of the year for the second-straight year. Bonita Wise joined Ladusaw and Stahl on the All-Conference USA first team, her second-straight such honor. 2000 first-teamer Rachel Beran and 2000 co-freshman of the year Laura Lauder were named to the second team and Julie DuPont joined Stahl on the all-freshman team. The evening was capped off with Reed Sunahara being named coach of the year in his second year at the helm.
Bearcats in the NCAA Rankings: A pair of Bearcats finished 2001 ranked among Division I leaders. Laura Lauder averaged 12.68 assists per game to rank 26th and Trish Ladusaw ranked 18th with 4.06 dig per game.