CINCINNATI, Ohio — Senior Trish Ladusaw (Louisville, Ohio/Assumption) broke the Conference USA record for career digs, while adding 18 kills offensively to lead the University of Cincinnati volleyball team to a 30-13, 30-19, 30-27 victory over George Mason on Sunday afternoon. The win was the Bearcats’ fourth in a row and ups their record to 11-6. George Mason slips to 13-6 with the defeat.
With 18 digs, Ladusaw topped former DePaul standout Stephanie Bishop’s career mark of 1,842. The outside hitter came out firing offensively, pacing the Bearcats with her 18 kills, while hitting .378.
Game one was all Cincinnati, as they hit .417 to -.095 for the Patriots. An error on Rachel Torblaa (Savage, Minn./Burnsville) brought the visitors to within 10-8, but the Bearcats went on a 20-5 run to wrap up the first stanza. Julie DuPont (Muskego, Wis./Muskego) paced a balanced attack during the spurt, with four kills, while Ladusaw and Bonita Wise (Riverside, Calif./John W. North) each added two.
The match’s second game turned into the Ladusaw show as the senior carded eight kills during the stanza. For the second consecutive game, George Mason took a 1-0 advantage, but a kill by Ladusaw gave the Bearcats a 2-1 advantage, a lead they would not relinquish for the remainder of the game. Ladusaw picked up four kills among UC’s first 10 points to lead the Bearcats to an early 10-5 advantage.
A Leslie Newell (Merrillville, Ind./Merrillville) kill made it 13-10 and started a 9-1 UC run that opened their advantage to 10 at 21-11. The Bearcats fought off a hard Patriot charge late, spurred by four Milena Racic and two Amy Falk kills, to close out a 30-19 win.
Eight lead changes highligted a tight game three that saw the Bearcats overcome a 27-25 deficit by scoring the match’s final five points. The two teams tied at three, six and 11 before Cincinnati went on a 9-2 spurt to take its largest advantage at 20-13. Ladusaw again came up big in the run with two kills and two blocks assists.
George Mason fought back once again, scoring eight of the next 10 points to knot the score at 22. The two teams traded points back and forth until a Aline Pereira kill and a block by Shelbylynn McBride and Racic gave the Patriots their biggest lead of the match at 27-25.
Cincinnati responded yet again, winning five straight points to close out the match. Ladusaw, DuPont, Newell and Wise all scored points during the stretch, with a block by Wise and Laura Lauder (Louisville, Ky./Presentation Academy) closing out the win.
DuPont netted her seventh double-double of the year with 13 kills and 13 digs, while Wise narrowly missed a triple-double with 12 kills, 10 blocks and eight digs.
The match also marked the Bearcats return home after 12 straight contests away from the Shoemaker Center.
“It feels good to be home again,” said Bearcat head coach Reed Sunahara. “We came out ready to play today. George Mason is a good team, you can tell by their record. We are glad to have our next two games at home and we have to get focused on Conference USA.”
The Bearcats play two C-USA home matches next weekend, hosting East Carolina on Friday, Oct. 18 and Charlotte on Sunday, Oct. 20. Both matches have been moved to Laurence Gym.