Women's Volleyball |
Oct. 2, 2007
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UC To Once Again Participate In Dig For The Cure
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FIRST SERVE: An important and challenging week kicks off for Cincinnati tonight when the Bearcats host regional rival Western Kentucky tonight at 7:30 p.m. in Fifth Third Arena. UC has won five straight, including its four first BIG EAST contests to improve to 12-4 overall and grab a share of first place in the league standings. The WKU contest kicks off a three-match week for the Bearcats, which also includes visits from Connecticut (Oct. 5) and St. John's (Oct. 7). A trio of wins will go a long way in helping the Bearcats improve their NCAA Tournament resume as all three squads are ranked in the Top-70 of the RKPI standings.
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 third in blocks (1.45 per game), fourth in hitting (.355) and seventh in kills per game (4.04).
Three freshmen-setter Annie Fesl, outside hitter Stephanie Niemer and middle blocker Lindsay Upton-have become staples in the Bearcats' starting line-up. The trio is combining for 5.44 kills, 3.69 digs, 0.87 aces and 1.35 blocks per game this season, while Fesl is averaging 13.69 assists per game.
With wins last weekend against Marquette and Syracuse, the Bearcats have started 4-0 in league play for the first time since 2004.
Nevitt is making a charge towards becoming the second player in UC history with 1,000 career kills and 500 career blocks, a feat accomplished only by current assistant coach Myanna Hellsten. Nevitt enters this week with 926 kills and 416 blocks.
NOTING THE LADY TOPPERS:
Western Kentucky has won seven straight matches to improve to 15-3 for the year. The Lady Toppers' last lost came against Dayton on Sept. 14, a team that also defeated the Bearcats earlier this year.
WKU is led by two-time all-American middle hitter Megan Argabright. The Louisville native is leading the team with 4.10 kills per game, while hitting .350.
Libero Kelly Hofmeyer, a Cincinnati native, was named the Sun Belt Conference Defensive Player of the Week on Monday. She averages a team-best 4.44 digs per game this year.
ALWAYS A BATTLE: The last six meetings between Cincinnati and Western Kentucky have been battles between strong teams, with the Bearcats playing the role of underdog nearly every time. A look at each team's record prior to the meeting and the result:
Year UC WKU Result
2006 8-2 11-5 UC, 3-0
2005 9-6 18-1 UC, 3-1
2004 9-6 16-1 UC, 3-1
2003 9-1 9-2 UC, 3-0
2002 2-3 8-1 WKU, 3-0
2001 3-5 7-3 UC, 3-1
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 won a BIG EAST Freshman of the Week award (Sept. 3) and is ranked second in the league with 13.69 assists per game. Against TCU on Sept. 1, Fesl finished with career highs of 69 assists and five blocks. Her first career match against Southern Miss on Aug. 24 was a good one, as she finished just three assists shy of a UC three-game record with 55 assists. Through matches of Sept. 23, Fesl was listed sixth nationally in assists per game.
Niemer also has a BIG EAST Freshman of the Week award (Sept. 24) and ranks second on the team with 3.35 kills per game. The Erlanger, Ky. native has been stout of late, averaging a team-leading 3.86 kills per game in UC's last eight matches. Niemer exploded for a career-high 19 kills at Wisconsin-Milwaukee on Sept. 7 and hit a career-high .423 with 13 kills at IUPUI on Sept. 18.
Upton cracked the starting six against Maryland on Aug. 25 and has been a solid player in the middle opposite of Jessie Nevitt. She has reached double figures in kills four times and is averaging 1.83 kills, 0.67 digs and 0.52 blocks per game. Twice this year, Upton has tallied a career-high with 12 kills.
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 153-59 (.722) record at home and are 88-12 (.880) since Reed Sunahara took over as head coach in 2000. The Bearcats ended last year with a 13-2 home mark and are 5-1 at home this season, with their only loss coming to No. 2 Stanford on Sept. 12.
CUSTER'S LAST STAND: Senior Jenny Custer has been a regular contributor during her Bearcat career and is having another solid campaign in 2007. This year, Custer is listed third on the Bearcats with 3.02 kills per game, while adding 2.00 digs and 0.65 blocks per game. She is also listed second in the BIG EAST with 0.50 service aces per game. In UC career annals, Custer has moved into a tie for fourth place on the service aces list with 148. Custer has been outstanding during UC's five-match winning streak, averaging 4.12 kills, 2.06 digs and 0.71 blocks per game, while hitting a stout .382. Against Syracuse on Sept. 30, Custer finished with 19 kills on .417 hitting, missing her career-high of 22 set last year against the same Orange team.
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 eight 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.
TRYING FOR THREE STRAIGHT: Junior Jessie Nevitt is making a push for her third straight All-American honor with her play in 2007. A look at some of Nevitt's accomplishments this season:
Ranks among the BIG EAST leaders in hitting percentage (4th-.355), blocks per game (3rd-1.45) and kills per game (7th-4.04).
Named MVP of the State Farm Bearcats Invitational and to the all-tournament team at the Panther Invitational.
Tabbed BIG EAST Player of the Week on Aug. 27 and to the weekly honor roll on Sept. 3 and Sept. 10.
Recorded a career-high 21 kills in just three games in UC's win over Bradley (Sept. 7). Has double figure kills in 13 of the Bearcats' 16 matches this season.
Has 10 performances of at least five blocks in a match, including a season-best nine at Wisconsin-Milwaukee (Sept. 7).
Became the 19th player in program history with 900 career kills during UC's win over USF (Sept. 23).
Cracked the top-10 on the UC career block assists (6th-366) and total blocks (9th-416) charts.
Is on the fast track to becoming the second UC player ever with 1,000 kills and 500 blocks in her career. Nevitt holds current totals of 926 kills and 416 blocks.