Women's Volleyball |
Sept. 6, 2007
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Tournament Information Page
SETTING THE SCENE: Cincinnati will be out to stop a two-match losing streak when it travels to Milwaukee, Wis. for this weekend's Panther Invitational. After starting out 5-0, the Bearcats have dropped consecutive matches to TCU and No. 23 Dayton. UC will try to rebound against a formidable tournament field that includes host Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Bradley and Virginia Tech. The Bearcats will launch tourney play at 10 a.m. CT on Friday against Bradley, with the host Panthers on the docket at 7 p.m. CT. UC wraps up the weekend on Saturday with a 10 a.m. CT meeting with Virginia Tech.
NOTING THE BEARCATS:
The Bearcats are led by two-time honorable mention all-American Jessie Nevitt, who ranks among the BIG EAST leaders in hitting, kills and blocks. The junior is on top in blocks per game (1.42), while ranking seventh in kills per game (3.92) and eighth in hitting percentage (.328).
Cincinnati has earned BIG EAST weekly awards in each of the first two weeks of the season. Jessie Nevitt was named player of the week on Aug. 27, while Annie Fesl picked up freshman of the week on Sept. 3.
Three freshmen-setter Fesl, outside hitter Stephanie Niemer and middle blocker Lindsay Upton-have joined the Bearcats starting line-up. The trio is combining for 5.21 kills, 3.38 digs, 1.33 aces and 1.38 blocks per game this season, while Fesl is averaging 13.62 assists per game.
ABOUT THE TOURNAMENT: The 2007 Panther Invitational will feature the Bearcats, Bradley, Virginia Tech and host Wisconsin-Milwaukee. The Bearcats enter the weekend 5-2 and having lost two straight. Bradley is 1-6 this year, with its lone win against Western Illinois. Virginia Tech enters at 5-2, with losses coming against nationally-ranked St. John's and Long Beach State. UWM has won five straight after a season-opening loss to No. 11 Wisconsin. The schedule for the weekend is as follows:
Friday, Sept. 7
Cincinnati vs. Bradley, 10 a.m. CT; Virginia Tech at Milwaukee, 12:30 p.m. CT
Bradley vs. Virginia Tech, 4:30 p.m. CT; Cincinnati at Milwaukee, 7 p.m. CT
Saturday, Sept. 8
Cincinnati vs. Virginia Tech, 11 a.m. CT; Bradley at Milwaukee, 1:30 p.m. CT
FESL EARNS BIG EAST WEEKLY AWARD: For the second straight week, the BIG EAST has honored a Bearcat as setter Annie Fesl has been tabbed the league's freshman of the week. Fesl received the accolade after helping the Bearcats to a pair of wins and posting a career-best performance in another contest. In three matches last week, Fesl averaged 13.09 assists, 1.55 digs and 0.91 blocks per game, while pacing a Bearcat offense that hit .309. In a five-game defeat against TCU, Fesl posted her second double-double of the year, handing out a career-high 69 assists and adding 10 digs, along with a personal-best five blocks. Fesl tacked on 38 and 37 assists in three-game wins over Morehead State and Maine, respectively. She joins Jessie Nevitt who earned player of the week on Aug. 27.
MAKING A FIRST IMPRESSION: The Bearcats' freshmen trio of Annie Fesl, Stephanie Niemer and Lindsay Upton have made quite the first impression during their first season of collegiate competition. A look at each's first taste of college:
Fesl has already won a BIG EAST Freshman of the Week award (Sept. 3) and ranks second in the league with 13.62 assists per game. Against TCU on Sept. 1, Fesl finished with career highs of 69 assists and five blocks.
Niemer has shown signs of greatness and is averaging 2.88 kills per game. Against Maryland in the State Farm Bearcats Invitational final on Aug. 25, Niemer tallied 13 kills, added six digs and buried four service aces. One match later, she hit a career-high .381 at Morehead State (Aug. 28).
Upton cracked the starting six against Maryland on Aug. 25 and has moved among the BIG EAST leaders in hitting at .368. She has reached double figures in kills three times and is averaging 2.00 kills, 0.79 digs and 0.50 blocks per game.
CUSTER'S LAST STAND: Senior Jenny Custer has been a regular contributor during her Bearcat career and will try to save her best season for last in 2007. Now in her third year as a starter, Custer averaged over three kills and two digs per game in each of the last two years. She showed improved blocking ability with a career-high 1.00 blocks per game. At the start of this year's campaign, Custer had season-highs of 16 kills and 11 digs against Maryland on Aug. 25.
HOME COURT HEROES: Cincinnati has enjoyed a strong home court advantage since the opening of Fifth Third Arena in 1989. In the 17-plus years the building has been in existence, the Bearcats have posted a 151-58 (.722) record at home and are 86-11 (.887) over the past eight-plus seasons. During the program's time in Fifth Third, it has enjoyed two lengthy win streaks, including a school-record 23-match string that ended in 2004. At the time the streak was snapped, it represented the third-longest active streak in the nation. UC's loss to Notre Dame in the BIG EAST Championship on Nov. 17, 2006 snapped the Bearcats' 10-match home court win streak. The Bearcats ended last year with a 13-2 home mark.
EXPERIENCE MATTERS: For the Bearcats to succeed this season, UC will have to find a way to support all-American Jessie Nevitt offensively. One player with the experience to do that is junior outside hitter Jessica Elley. Elley enjoyed a breakout 2006 season and recently joined the top-10 on the UC career digs per game list with 2.85 per game. This season, Elley ranks second on the squad in both kills (3.35) and digs (3.13) per game.
ON THE HORIZON: If all goes according to plan, head coach Reed Sunahara will add another milestone to his coaching resume this season. Now in his eighth-year as the Bearcat boss, Sunahara needs just 15 more victories to reach 200 for his career. Already the winningest coach in program history, Sunahara has guided UC to four NCAA Tournament appearances and three conference regular season titles.