Bearcat Volleyball Wins Wild One in West Virginia

Nov. 6, 2010

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MORGANTOWN, W. Va. - The No. 21-ranked University of Cincinnati volleyball team needed all five sets to defeat West Virginia University on Saturday afternoon at the WVU Coliseum.

Facing a 2-1 match deficit, Cincinnati responded with its best set of the match and took the fourth 25-10. The Bearcats shot a .433 hitting percentage in the set, while holding WVU to a .027 rate, and were led offensively bysenior outside hitter Stephanie Niemer's (Erlanger, Ky./St. Henry) seven kills and senior setter Annie Fesl's (Arlington Heights, Ill./John Hersey) 12 assists. The senior duo also paced UC with four digs a piece in the set.

With the outcome of the match contingent upon the fifth and final set, Cincinnati quickly jumped out to an 8-2 lead and held on to win the decisive fifth 15-10. Fesl added nine assists, while Niemer had seven kills and three digs in the set to pace Cincinnati.

With the win, the Bearcats (23-4, 10-1 BIG EAST) kept pace with Louisville, who defeated Pittsburgh on Saturday, for first place in the BIG EAST Conference standings with three matches remaining.

For the match, the Bearcats were led offensively by Niemer, who recorded her 12th double-double of the season with a match-high 24 kills and 18 digs, and senior setter Fesl, who dished out a season-high 58 assists.

In the first set the Bearcats came back from a 23-18 deficit and tied the score at 23, but were unable to complete the comeback, ultimately falling 25-23 and snapping their 15-set win streak. UC played from behind the majority of the set due in large part to 12 attack errors and a .091 hitting percentage. Offensively, sophomore middle blocker Jordanne Scott (Indianapolis, Ind./Lawrence North) paced the Bearcats with five of her 19 kills, while Fesl chipped in with all 14 of Cincinnati's assists in the set.

The Bearcats bounced back in the second set, recording a .281 hitting percentage while holding the Mountaineers to a .105 clip, and tied the match at one set a piece with a 25-15 win. Niemer and Scott each had four kills in the set. Defensively, junior outside hitter Missy Harpenau (Cincinnati, Ohio/Mother of Mercy) recorded 13 of her match-high 20 digs through two sets. Harpenau also smacked 10 kills for her double-double of the season.

Cincinnati saw itself in a 12-5 hole midway through the third set, but slowly came back and tied the score at 21. However, much like in the first set, the Bearcats were unable to completely mount the comeback and lost the third 25-21. Niemer clinched her 12th double-double of the season in the third after recording five digs. Scott paced UC with seven kills in the set and Fesl passed for 12 more assists.

Cincinnati will continue its road trip when it plays at Pittsburgh on Sunday, Nov. 7, at 2 p.m.