Volleyball Closes Regular-Season by Hosting Connecticut and St. John's
gobearcats.COM Jaime Frey
Jaime Frey

Nov. 12, 2009

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COMING TO AN END: Cincinnati will host Connecticut and St. John’s this weekend as it wraps up its 2009 BIG EAST Conference regular-season campaign. UC will play host to Connecticut on Saturday, Nov. 14, at 2 p.m., before closing out the regular-season on Sunday, Nov. 15, at 2 p.m.


ABOUT THE HUSKIES: Connecticut enters the weekend with a .500 record at 14-14 and a 7-5 BIG EAST Conference record. Connecticut is looking to secure a spot in the BIG EAST Tournament this weekend as it sits two games ahead of Villanova, West Virginia, and Seton Hall for the seventh spot. Jessica Isaac leads the team defensively averaging 4.18 digs per set, which ranks fifth in the BIG EAST, while averaging 5.46 dps to rank second in conference-only matches.


THE SERIES WITH CONNECTICUT: Saturday’s meeting between UC and UConn will be the fifth meeting all-time between the schools with Cincinnati owning a 3-1 edge in the series. UConn’s lone win in the series last season in five sets in Storrs, Conn.


ABOUT THE RED STORM: St. John’s owns a 9-19 overall mark and a 2-10 conference record coming into the weekend. The Red Storm are led offensively by Darlene Ramdin, who leads the BIG EAST with 4.31 kills per set. Defensively, Ashley Asing is averaging a team-best 3.96 digs per set, while Diana Banya is the team’s leading blocker at 0.83 bps.


THE SERIES WITH ST. JOHN’S: The Red Storm lead the all-time series with the Bearcats 3-2. St. John’s has won three consecutive meetings and UC’s last win over STJ came on Sept. 23, 2005, in Fifth Third Arena.


DEFENDING HOME: With a three-set win over Marquette and a four-set win against Syracuse on Oct. 30 and Nov. 1, respectively, Cincinnati extended its home winning streak to 25 matches, breaking the previous school record of 23 matches which spanned from Nov. 17, 2002 to Oct. 24, 2004. The Bearcats’ home winning streak dates back to 2007, where Cincinnati won its final two home matches of the season, before going 14-0 at home last season and 9-0 this season. The Bearcats own the second longest home winning streak in the country, trailing only the No. 1 team in the country and back-to-back National Champions Penn State Nittany Lions. Below are the three longest home winning streaks in the country.


                    Team.................. Home Court Consecutive Home Wins

                    Penn State ........... Rec Hall............................. 68

                Cincinnati ............. Fifth Third Arena................. 25

                North Dakota St. .. Bentson Bunker Fieldhouse... 19


20-10: With a three-set win over USF on Sunday, Nov. 8, Cincinnati won its 20th game of the season, marking the ninth time that UC has reached the 20-win plateau under the direction of 10th-year head coach Reed Sunahara. In addition, the win also gave UC its 10th conference victory as the Bearcats have now registered back-to-back 10-win conference campaigns for the first time since joining the BIG EAST in 2005.


TURNER LEADS UC PAST BULLS: Trailing 13-12 in the opening set against USF, freshman Megan Turner came into the contest and sparked Cincinnati to a three-set win over the Bulls. Turner led Cincinnati to a 25-22 come-from-behind win in the first set, before leading the Bearcats to a 25-15 second-set win and a 25-23 third-set win. Turner finished with a career-high 32 assists, three kills, and six digs.


UC SECURES SPOT IN BIG EAST TOURNEY: With wins over Marquette and Syracuse two weekends ago, Cincinnati secured a spot in the 2009 BIG EAST Conference Tournament, which will be played in Louisville, Ky., Nov. 20-22. There are two spots yet to be clinched for the BIG EAST Tournament as Notre Dame, Cincinnati, Pittsburgh, USF, Louisville, and Syracuse have secured spots in the tournament.


NATIONAL RANKINGS: In the most recent release of NCAA statistics, two UC players rank in the Top 35 nationally in four statistical categories. Junior Annie Fesl leads the way ranking 15th in the country in assists per set (11.43), which also ranks first in the BIG EAST. Additionally, fellow junior Stephanie Niemer ranks in the Top 35 nationally in three statistical categories. Niemer ranks 24th in the nation in service aces per set (0.44 sa/s), 22nd in the nation in points per set (4.90), and 32nd in kills per set (4.21 kps).


X-FACTOR: One of the keys to success for Cincinnati this season has been its serving. In wins, UC is averaging 1.68 service aces per set compared to just 0.92 sa/s in losses. In its 20 wins, Cincinnati has collected 114 of the team’s 148 service aces and the Bearcats have recorded at least four service aces in 17 of its 20 wins. On the other hand, the Bearcats have tallied fewer than four service aces in five of its nine losses. In wins, junior Stephanie Niemer and sophomore Missy Harpenau have combined for 71 of the team’s 114 service aces (62.2 percent). Nationally, the duo of Niemer and Harpenau also rank 24th and 43rd, respectively, in service aces per set.


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.