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CINCINNATI, Ohio -- The Bearcat volleyball team continues its 12-match road swing with four matches this week, taking on Western Kentucky on Tues., Sept. 10 at 7 pm CT and taking part in the Wright State Raider Challenge on Fri., Sept. 13 and Sat., Sept. 14.
UC is 2-3 after splitting last week’s two matches, beating Miami (O.), 3-0, and falling at Michigan, 3-1. Julie DuPont continues to excel, averaging 5.72 kills per game, while Trish Ladusaw is recording 5.06 digs per game.
The Bearcats are 6-3 all-time versus Western Kentucky (8-1) and have won the last five meetings. UC is 2-0 at WKU.
At the Raider Challenge, the Bearcats will face Central Michigan (1-5) on Fri., Sept. 13 at 4:30 pm, Austin Peay (2-4) on Sat., Sept. 14 at 1 pm and Wright State (5-1) on the 14th at 7 pm.
UC is 3-6 against CMU and 1-5 in neutral site match-ups. The Bearcats have won the only previous meeting with Austin Peay and are 15-10 versus Wright State, winning the last three. The Raiders have taken four of the nine match-ups in their gym.
About the Bearcats: UC is 2-3 after splitting a pair of matches last week. The Bearcats opened their home season by beating Miami (O.), 3-0, and then fell at Michigan, 3-1. UC plays its next 11 matches on the road. Outside hitters Julie DuPont and Trish Ladusaw continue to lead the Bearcats, with DuPont averaging 5.72 kills and 2.61 digs per game and Ladusaw recording 5.06 digs and 3.61 kills. Setter Laura Lauder is carding 12.33 assists and 2.39 digs per game.
About Western Kentucky: The Hilltoppers are 8-1 after suffering their first loss of the season on Saturday to IPFW at Purdue. WKU beat Butler, Purdue and Delaware during the weekend. Middle hitter Amanda Schiff is hitting .355 while averaging 3.43 kills per game. OH Amanda Cecil is carding 3.12 kills and 3.0 digs per game and setter Sara Noe is recording 13.34 assists a game.
About Central Michigan: The Chippewas are 1-5 after earning their first win of the season, 3-2, over Murray State on Saturday. They had lost to Southern Illinois and UMKC earlier in the weekend. Emily Lovejoy has a team-high 3.62 kills per game to go with 2.54 digs a game and 16 aces. Liz Passen is hitting .293 and carding 0.96 blocks per game.
About Austin Peay: The Lady Govs are 2-4, dropping their last two matches to Valparaiso and Marquette. All four losses have been in three games. Their two wins came against Providence and Lehigh. Amy Walk leads the way, averaging 3.50 kills and 3.15 digs per game.
About Wright State: The Raiders are 5-1, winners of five-straight after losing their opener to Minnesota, 3-2. In Kalamazoo, Mich. last weekend Wright State defeated DePaul, Western Michigan and No. 12 Michigan State. Karis Day is hitting .402 and averaging 4.24 kills per game while Mandy Gels is carding 11.92 assists and a team-leading 3.04 digs per game.
Last Time Out: The Bearcats went 1-1 last week, as Julie DuPont averaged 6.86 kills, 2.29 digs and 1.14 blocks a game.
Match Four - UC 3, Miami (O.) 0: DuPont had 22 kills on .319 hitting and recorded eight digs as UC won its home opener. Trish Ladusaw had 12 kills and 15 digs.
Match Five - Michigan 3, UC 1: The Wolverines hit .340, including .545 in game three, to come back from a 1-0 deficit. DuPont had a team-high 26 kills, eight digs and five blocks.
Last Time vs. Western Kentucky: UC outhit the Hilltoppers .290 to .170 en route to a 3-1 win on Sept. 25, 2001 in Cincinnati. Becky Stahl was one of three Bearcats with a double-double, recording 26 kills and 10 digs, to go with five aces and four blocks. Jessica Willard led WKU with 14 kills and only three errors.
Last Time vs. Central Michigan: In their last meeting, the Bearcats downed the Chippewas, 3-1, on Sept. 21, 1990. The match was part of the Cincinnati Invitational.
Last Time vs. Austin Peay: In the only meeting between the schools UC swept APU, 3-0. The Sept. 11, 1987 match took place in Bowling Green, Ky. as part of the Western Kentucky Invitational.
Last Time vs. Wright State: UC held the Raiders to .131 hitting in a 3-1 win on Oct. 30, 2001 in Cincinnati. Julie DuPont had 13 kills and 10 digs for the Bearcats while Trish Ladusaw added 11 kills and 16 digs. Karis Day led WSU with 12 kills and added eight digs and nine blocks.
Slow Starters: This year’s 2-3 start is reminiscent of 2001, when the Bearcats started the year 2-5. UC is hoping to turn 2002 around as dramatically as last year, when that 2-5 start was followed by 16-straight wins.
Unstoppable: Sophomore OH Julie DuPont has been nothing short of outstanding thus far this season. She has led the Bearcats in kills in every match, averaging 5.72 kills per game. DuPont has surpassed the 20-kill mark three times with eight or more digs four times and four or more blocks three times. This production comes after making the switch to the outside from middle blocker, a position at which she garnered all-freshmen team accolades last season.
Outstanding Individual Efforts: Despite the Bearcats’ 2-3 record, they rank in the top five in C-USA in four statistical categories and have three players leading the league in different stats. Trish Ladusaw is tops in C-USA for the third-straight year with 5.06 digs per game, Julie DuPont is averaging 5.72 kills per game and Rachel Torblaa is recording 1.56 blocks per game. The key to the below average record may be UC’s ranking of 12th in the conference in both hitting percentage and opponents’ hitting percentage.
Tournament Success: Despite going 1-2 at the Shamrock Invitational to open the season outside hitters Trish Ladusaw and Julie DuPont were both named to the all-tournament team. Ladusaw averaged 5.55 digs per game, including 28 in the five-game loss to Cal Poly. In that match she also set a career high with 24 kills. DuPont recorded 5.00 kills per game, with at least 14 in every match.
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 third in block assists and fifth in kills. Ladusaw owns all of UC’s 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.
Ladusaw Goes for Another Dig Record: Trish Ladusaw became UC’s all-time digs leader last season, surpassing the mark of 1,303 set by Becky Tenkman from 1995-98. Ladusaw now has 1,645 career digs, ranking second in Conference USA history, just 201 behind record holder Stephanie Bishop (DePaul, 1998-2001).
Searching for National Ranking: The Bearcats recieved 12 points in the USA Today/AVCA preseason poll , 39th-best, but fell completely out in the Sept. 2 poll. UC spent the last half of 2001 in the others recieving points category, climbing as high as 26th and finishing the year at 30th.
Ladusaw on the NCAA Digs Chart: Trish Ladusaw’s career digs per game average of 4.35 ranks her fifth 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) and Nia Kiggundu of Louisiana-Lafayette (4.41) round out the top four.
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. The Bearcats have now won 44 of their last 52 matches against C-USA opponents. Four of the eight losses have been to Louisville.
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. UC’s 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.
UC Picked Second in Preseason Poll: The defending Conference USA champion Bearcats were picked to finish second in 2002 in the coaches’ 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.
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. UC is 1-1 in game fours this season, winning the fourth frame against Cal Poly and dropping it at Michigan.
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. In the first five matches of 2002 the Bearcats held two opponents under .200, winning both matches.
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 UC’s best-ever recruiting class, featuring high school all-Americans Maddie Barron and Suzi Terrell, as well as Haley King and Lindsey Garrison.
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 year’s NCAA first round win over Xavier was UC’s 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.
Toppling a Ranked Foe: The Bearcats’ 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 Bearcats’ 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.