Volleyball Opens BIG EAST Play at Villanova

GOBEARCATSDOTCOM Sophomore Missy Harpenau
GOBEARCATSDOTCOM
Sophomore Missy Harpenau
GOBEARCATSDOTCOM
Women's Volleyball |

Sept. 23, 2009

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UC OPENS CONFERENCE PLAY: Cincinnati (9-6) begins defense of its 2008 BIG EAST Conference regular-season championship on Friday, Sept. 25, at Villanova (11-2). The Wildcats own the top record in the BIG EAST with an 11-2 mark, while Cincinnati enters conference action at 9-6. The match-up pits the BIG EAST's top attacking team in Cincinnati (13.93 kps) against one the league's top defensive squads in Villanova (16.38 dps).

ABOUT THE WILDCATS: Villanova enters the first weekend of conference play with the top overall record in the league at 11-2. The Wildcats begin conference action against UC at 7 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 25, before welcoming Louisville to Villanova, Pa., for a 2 p.m. match on Sunday, Sept. 27. VU has won six straight matches and it is led offensively by Morgan Petkovich, who is averaging 4.31 kps. Villanova ranks second in the country in service aces per set (2.29) and fifth in digs, and the Wildcats are led in both categories by Kim Maroon. Maroon is averaging 0.75 sa/s and 5.89 dps, respectively, which ranks her third and fifth nationally in those categories.

THE SERIES WITH VILLANOVA: Friday is the seventh meeting between Cincinnati and Villanova and the series is tied at three matches apiece. Villanova is 3-0 at home against UC all-time, while the Bearcats' three wins have occurred either at Fifth Third Arena or at a neutral site.

BENCH PRODUCTION: In Cincinnati's four-set defeat to Western Michigan on Monday, Sept. 21, freshmen Megan Turner and Karen Onuki both were extremely productive off the bench for the Bearcats. Turner came alive for the Bearcats in the third and fourth sets, combining for nine kills in 16 attempts for a .563 hitting percentage during that span. For the match, Turner finished with a season-high 12 kills, her first double-figure kill outing of the season, and she hit a season best .478. Defensively, Onuki came into the contest in a reserve role and posted a season-best six digs.

ONE DOWN, ONE TO GO: After becoming the 15th player in school history to accumulate 1,000 career kills on Sept. 15, vs. Western Kentucky, junior Stephanie Niemer's 19 kills against Western Michigan on Sept. 21, moved her past current assistant coach Myanna Hellsten for 10th place on the program's career kills chart. Niemer now needs four service aces to surpass Tina Durbin (1984-88) for 10th on the career service aces chart.

NCAA RANKINGS: In the most recent release of NCAA statistics on Sept. 21, Cincinnati has two players ranked in the Top 12 nationally in three individual statistical categories, while also ranking in the Top 30 in two team statistical categories. Junior Stephanie Niemer ranks seventh in the country in kills per set (4.77) and points per set (5.43), and fellow junior Annie Fesl ranks 11th nationally in assists per set, dishing out 11.55 assists on average. It is no coincidence that Cincinnati therefore ranks 22nd nationally in assists per set (12.92) and 27th in kills per set (13.81) as a squad.

UPSET SPECIAL: Trying to avoid its third consecutive loss to a ranked opponent in as many matches, Cincinnati came out and defeated the No. 16 Saint Louis Billikens, 3-0 (27-25, 25-23, 25-17), in its second match of the Illinois State Farm Classic on Sept. 12. The Billiken loss marked the first time this season that they have lost to a team not ranked in the Top 25 (Four other losses include: No. 1 Penn State, No. 2 Texas, No. 4 Hawai'i, No. 14 Illinois). The UC triumph marks the highest-ranked opponent that the Bearcats have defeated in program history, and it was the first ranked opponent that Cincinnati had defeated since Oct. 10, 2003, when it beat No. 17 Louisville.

NIEMER GETS TO 1,000: Coming in to the 2009 season, Stephanie Niemer needed 200 kills to become the 15th player in UC history to reach 1,000 career kills. In the second set against Western Kentucky on Sept. 15, Niemer put down her 1,000th career kill tying her with Becky Tenkman as the second-fastest player in school history to reach the milestone. Niemer also becomes the eighth player in program history to reach 1,000 career kills as a junior.

OH SO CLOSE: Junior Stephanie Niemer could not be stopped during UC's match against No. 17 Utah on Aug. 29. The Erlanger, Ky., native posted a career-high 34 kills, which tied her for second place on Cincinnati's single-match kills list with UC Hall of Famer Sonja Jackson, who put down 34 kills against Dayton on Nov. 5, 1986. Niemer's 34 kills are the most since 2003, when Julie DuPont had 33 kills at Butler on Sept. 25, 2004. Heather Augustine owns the UC single-match kills record with 36 kills against Marquette on Nov. 22, 1991.

FOLLOW UC VOLLEYBALL AND HEAD COACH Reed Sunahara ON TWITTER: Fans can follow the Cincinnati volleyball team and head coach Reed Sunahara on Twitter at www.twitter.com/Cincinnativball and www.twitter.com/ReedSunahara.

 

 

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