Player Notes (.PDF)
CINCINNATI, Ohio —Riding a six-match winning streak and just a game and a half out of first in Conference USA, the University of Cincinnati volleyball team (13-6, 4-1 C-USA) hits the road this week for a pair of matches at Tulane (Oct. 25) and Southern Miss (Oct. 26). Both matches are set for a 7 p.m. CT start.
The Bearcats are tied for third in C-USA with Saint Louis and trail South Florida (6-0) by just one and a half games. Cincinnati has been one of the hottest teams in C-USA as of late, boasting the second longest current winning streak, behind only Louisville’s seven-game string.
Julie DuPont leads the Bearcat offense with 5.23 kills per game, while adding 2.80 digs. Bonita Wise has been red hot as of late, hitting .444, with four kills per game over the last six matches.
This weekend’s matches could cause a shake-up in the C-USA standings, as both of the Bearcats’ opponents this week boast 4-2 conference slates. Tulane has won its last five matches and seven of eight to up its record to 14-10. Britney Hurst, an All C-USA pick last season, leads the Green Wave in both kills (5.38) and digs (3.52) per game.
Southern Miss has won three in a row and six of eight to improve to 13-9 this season. Andrea Bush leads the Golden Eagles with 4.40 kills per game, while hitting .254, good for second on the team.
About the Bearcats: Sophomore Julie DuPont continues to lead the Bearcat offense, carding a team-best 5.23 kills per game, but senior Bonita Wise has come on strong as of late. Wise has hit over .500 in three of the last four matches and is averaging 3.52 kills per game on the season.
The Bearcats have also become quite a force defensively, as they lead Conference USA in both blocks per game (2.99) and opponents hitting percentage (.174). Trish Ladusaw, the C-USA career leader in digs, ranks sixth nationally and first in C-USA with 4.83 digs per game. Rachel Torblaa is the conference leader and ranked 24th nationally in blocks with 1.47 per game.
About Tulane: At 14-10 and 4-2 in Conference USA, Tulane is just a half game behind the Bearcats, tied for sixth. The Green Wave has won five in a row and seven of eight, falling only to conference leading South Florida during the stretch. Britney Hurst paces the Tulane offense, averaging 5.38 kills per game, which ranks second in C-USA. She also leads the team in hitting percentage (.293) and digs per game (3.52). The Green Wave feature one of the conference’s best defenses, tied for second in opponent hitting percentage with Louisville at .178. Tulane faces Nicholls State in non-conference action on Tuesday night.
About Southern Miss: The Golden Eagles are 4-2 in Conference USA and 13-9 overall, tied with Tulane for sixth place in the conference. Southern Miss has won six of its last eight matches, falling to Houston and South Florida. Andrea Bush leads the Golden Eagle offense with 4.40 kills per game, with a .254 hitting percentage. Crystal Lane paces the defense with a team-best three digs per game. The Golden Eagles host Louisville on Friday prior to the Bearcats visit to Hattiesburg.
Last Time Out: Game 18 - UC 3, East Carolina 0: Bonita Wise hit .611 with 12 kills, leading three players in double-figure kills as the Bearcats swept a three-game match. Julie DuPont added 12 kills, while Trish Ladusaw had 11.
Game 19 - UC 3, Charlotte 0: Julie DuPont and Bonita Wise each had double-figure kills as Cincinnati overcame a tough Charlotte team to post its sixth consecutive win.
Last Time vs. Tulane: Bonita Wise hit .519 with 14 kills leading the Bearcats to a three-game home win over the Green Wave on Oct. 25, 2001. Trish Ladusaw added a double-double with 11 kills and 16 digs.
Last Time vs. Southern Miss: Cincinnati defeated Southern Miss for its 13th of 16 straight wins on Oct. 28, 2001. Becky Stahl led the Bearcat offense with 20 kills and 11 digs, while Bonita Wise hit .519 for the second straight match with 16 kills.
Bearcats In Regional Rankings: Cincinnati is ranked fourth in the Midwest region in the first NCAA regional rankings of the 2002 season. Conference USA members Louisville and South Florida are rated first and second, with Loyola (Illinois) third. Cincinnati finished second in the Midwest in the final 2001 regional rankings. The Bearcats reached No. 1 for the first time in 2000 and finished the year ranked third.
Chasing History: After setting every school digs record and recently breaking the Conference USA career record for digs, Trish Ladusaw is on pace to etch her name in the NCAA record books as well. With 1,873 digs, Ladusaw ranks 18th on the NCAA career digs lists. She is on pace to become just the eighth player in NCAA history to record 2,000 career digs and has a realistic chance of moving into the top-five on the all-time list. Former Texas-San Antonio standout Shalynn McCoy ranks fifth with 2,009 digs, just 136 ahead of Ladusaw. Margie Kolat of Arkansas State holds the record with 2,291 digs.
Ladusaw on the NCAA Digs Chart: Trish Ladusaw’s career digs per game average of 4.38 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
Another Player, Another Milestone: With teammates Bonita Wise and Trish Ladusaw having already rewritten the UC record books, setter Laura Lauder is quietly on her way to doing the same thing. Lauder, who ranks second in Bearcat annals in career assists, should take over the top spot in one of this weekend’s matches. With 3,790 assists in just two and a half seasons, Lauder needs only 62 more to take over first place from Paige Pees, who racked up 3,851 from 1988-91.
Inside the Streak: The Bearcats’ six-match winning streak has been impressive from both an offensive and a defensive perspective. A look inside the numbers of the winning streak:
• The Bearcats have won 12 straight games and 18 of their last 20.
• They are outhitting opponents by a .336 to .109 clip.
• The offense has hit at least .315 in each of the last four matches.
• No opposing team has hit over .166, while two have been held under .100.
• Cincinnati holds a 16.55 to 11.65 kills per game advantage.
• Bonita Wise has been red hot during the streak, averaging four kills, 1.70 digs and 1.40 blocks per game, while hitting .444.
Ladusaw New C-USA Digs Queen: Trish Ladusaw became the Conference USA’s career digs leader in the Sept. 13 win over George Mason. Ladusaw now has 1,873 career digs, bettering Stephanie Bishop’s (DePaul, 1998-2001) mark of 1,842. On the UC digs chart, Ladusaw shattered the mark of 1,303 set by Becky Tenkman from 1995-98.
Red Hot: After the first six matches of the season, three-time all-conference performer Bonita Wise was hitting just .237, averaging 2.57 kills per game and had double-figure kills in only three matches as UC went 2-4. In the last 12 matches, 11 of them UC wins, Wise is hitting .362 and averaging 3.95 kills, 2.49 digs and 1.20 blocks a game while getting 10 or more kills in all 12 matches.
Turning Up the D: A key to Cincinnati’s success this season has been their ability to keep teams under. 200 hitting. The Bearcats have won all 13 matches in which they have done that this year and are 30-2 over the last two seasons. Cincinnati also established a school record against Eastern Kentucky for fewest points allowed in match (50) since 30-point rally scoring was introuduced last year. Another key element to the recent hot streak is UC’s improvement in opponents’ hitting percentage. After ranking 12th inthe category early in the season, the Bearcats are now ranked first, holding opponents to a .174 clip. In the last six matches, the Bearcats have held all of their opponents under .200 hitting, including holding East Carolina to a season-low .032.
Wise’s Solid Hitting: Bonita Wise’s outing against Austin Peay on Sept. 14 was truly impressive. Wise hit .600 against the Lady Govs, registering 15 kills, with no errors in 25 swings. The senior was also strong against East Carolina, hitting a season-best .611, notching 12 kills in 18 attempts, with only one error. This season Wise has registered six matches hitting over .400, with three performances of at least 10 kills and zero errors.
Newell’s Explosion: After averaging 1.92 kills per game with a .192 hitting percentage in the season’s first four matches and then missing five straight contests due to injury, sophomore Leslie Newell has turned up her play over the last 10 matches. Since returning to action against Gonzaga on Sept. 20, Newell has carded 2.37 kills per game and hit .344, while adding 0.94 blocks per game during that period. Included in that span was a career-best 22 kills, with only two errors in 32 attempts (.625), against Marquette. The .625 hitting performance ranks as the fifth-best in school history, with a minimum of 20 attempts. Annisa Blosser tops the the charts with a .793 match in 1994. Newell now ranks ninth in Conference USA with a .309 hitting percentage.
Block Party: The Bearcats continued their run as the top blocking team in Conference USA over the weekend, posting 11 against East Carolina and adding nine more against Charlotte. For the season, Cincinnati is averaging 2.99 blocks per game. Individually, Rachel Torblaa is leading C-USA with 1.47 blocks per game, after registering six against Charlotte.
Strength in Defeat: As good as Julie DuPont has performed this season, it is interesting to note that her numbers in many statistical categories are actually better in Cincinnati defeats. In the Bearcats’ 13 victories this season, DuPont has carded 5.10 kills and 2.79 digs per game, while hitting .267. The six Cincinnati defeats have seen DuPont post 5.46 kills and 2.83 digs per game, with a .210 hitting percentage.
Bearcats in Conference USA: In the seven years of C-USA play, the Bearcats have gone 87-24 for a .784 winning percentage, ranking third in both, trailing only Louisville and South Florida. The Bearcats have now won 48 of their last 57 matches against C-USA opponents. Five of the nine losses have been to Louisville.
Unstoppable: Sophomore OH Julie DuPont has been nothing short of outstanding this season. She has led the Bearcats in kills in all but one match, averaging 5.23 kills per game. DuPont has surpassed the 20-kill mark eight times with eight or more digs 14 times and four or more blocks seven 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.
Torblaa’s Time to Shine: Rachel Torblaa was a valuable defensive player in limited action as a freshman last year, averaging 1.12 blocks a game. This season she has improved her defensive stats, averaging 1.44 blocks a game with five or more blocks in 11 matches, including 10 vs. Wisconsin-Milwaukee and Marquette. Her offensive output this year has been an added bonus. Torblaa is hitting .239 with 2.21 kills a game, carding eight or more kills in nine matches.
Outstanding Individual Efforts: After a slow start, the Bearcats have rebounded to win 11 of their last 12 matches, thanks to a group of players near the top of the Conference USA statistics. Trish Ladusaw is tops in C-USA for the third-straight year with 4.83 digs per game, while Laura Lauder is averaging a league-best 13.18 assists per game and Rachel Torblaa is first with 1.47 blocks per game. In addition, Julie DuPont is fourth in kills per game with 5.30 and Bonita Wise is sixth in hitting percentage at .326.
Tackling Ranked Foes: The Bearcats win over then No. 25 Colorado State on Sept. 21 was UC’s second match against a ranked opponent this season. Cincinnati battled then No. 25 Notre Dame in the second match of the season, falling in three games. The Bearcats’ win at No. 22 Louisville on Oct. 10, 2001 was their first ever over a nationally-ranked team.
Bearcats in the NCAA Rankings: After finishing last season ranked among the nation’s best Laura Lauder and Trish Ladusaw are again ranked nationally in assists and digs, respectively, being joined by two teammates on the lists. Ladusaw is sixth in the nation averaging 4.83 digs a game, and Lauder is 11th in assists per game with 13.18. Julie DuPont ranks 14th in the nation in kills per game with a 5.23 average and Rachel Torblaa is 24th in blocks, carding 1.47 per game. The statistics are through matches played Oct. 13.
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.
Slow Starters: For the second consecutive year, the Bearcats got off to a slow start, starting 2-5. Last year, UC rebounded with a 16-match winning streak. This season the Bearcats won five in a row before falling at Louisville. They have since won 11 of their last 12 matches.
Sweeping Through the Coors Classic: The Bearcats closed out their pre-conference schedule in style, winning all three matches at the Coors Classic, including a 3-0 win over host No. 25 Colorado State. Julie DuPont was named to her third all-tournament team after averaging 5.80 kills, 2.60 digs and 1.10 blocks per game. Trish Ladusaw was also a third-time all-tournament honoree after hitting .271 with 3.10 kills and 5.00 digs a game. Bonita Wise received her second such honor after hitting .290 with 3.60 kills, 3.70 digs and 1.20 blocks a game.
More Tournament Honors: After placing three players on the all-tournament team at the season-opening Shamrock Invitational, the Bearcats landed three more at the Wright State Raider Challenge. Senior Bonita Wise led the way, nabbing most valuable player honors after 4.40 kills per game and hitting .376 for the weekend. Joining Wise on the team were outside hitters Julie DuPont and Trish Ladusaw. DuPont averaged 5.10 kills per game, including a 25 kill, 20 dig effort against Central Michigan. Not to be outdone, Ladusaw averaged 3.50 kills and 5.30 digs per game for the three matches.
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.
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.
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.