CINCINNATI - The University of Cincinnati volleyball team will begin its 2013 season August 30-31 when it hosts the UC Invitational at Fifth Third Arena. The Bearcats will face Butler University at 12:30 p.m. on Friday and the University of Tennessee at 7 p.m. on Friday before squaring off against Morehead State University at 4:30 p.m. on Saturday.
FIVE THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW
Head Coach Molly Alvey will begin her second season at the helm of the Bearcats. In 2012, UC posted a 12-20 record and a 9-6 mark in BIG EAST play. The team finished fourth in the conference standings and qualified for the championship for the eighth-straight season. UC topped Connecticut 3-2 in the quarterfinal of the BIG EAST Championship before falling to Louisville in the semifinal round.
The Bearcats will open the season as an inaugural member of the American Athletic Conference. Conference members include UCF, Connecticut, Houston, Louisville, Memphis, Rutgers, USF, SMU and Temple. Each team will play the others twice, once at home and once on the road, to comprise an 18-game conference schedule. There will be no American Championship tournament and therefore the regular-season champion will earn the conference's automatic bid into the NCAA Championship.
Emmi MacIntyre (Muncie, Ind./Yorktown) returns as the only senior on the 2013 roster where she will be counted on the lead the team both on and off the court. The defensive specialist has recorded 1,607 career digs and is only 468 digs away from becoming Cincinnati's all-time digs leader (Trish Ladusaw - 2,074). MacIntyre also ranks second in the career record book with a 4.24 digs/set ratio. The 2012 All-BIG EAST Second Team member finished her junior campaign ranked second in UC history with 614 digs and a 5.12 digs per set ratio.
The Bearcats will feature seven freshmen on their roster, the most for Cincinnati since also listing seven freshmen in 2004. The largest recruiting class occurred in 1993 when Cincinnati had 10 freshmen on the squad. Leading the young contingency in 2013 is redshirt freshman Alison Kimmel (Plainfield, Ill./Plainfield North). She is joined by true freshmen Breanna Barksdale (Chula Vista, Calif./Eastlake), Mallory Blauser (Round Rock, Texas/Round Rock Christian Academy), Kristin Conor (Lone Tree, Colo./Highlands Ranch), Shelby Green (Dripping Springs, Texas/Dripping Springs), Ciara Hill (Bolingbrook, Ill./Bolingbrook) and Samantha Schrenker (Elmhurst, Ill./York Community).
The Bearcats are hosting the UC Invitational for the 19th time in program history. The tournament originated in 1977 when Southern Illinois, Indiana, Indiana State, Tennessee and Eastern Kentucky traveled to the Queen City to participate. The most recent UC Invitational was in 2010 when UC beat Kent State, James Madison and Murray State in Fifth Third Arena.