Complete Post-Season Guide (PDF)
CINCINNATI, Ohio —The Cincinnati Bearcats (20-7, 11-2 Conference USA) open play in the 2002 Healthy Choice Conference USA Tournament on Saturday, Nov. 23 as the third seed in the 12-team tournament. The Bearcats will face No. 6 Charlotte at 2 p.m. ET in the DePaul Athletic Center.
The Bearcats enter the tournament having won 18 of their last 20 matches after starting the season 2-5. By earning the third seed for the championship, Cincinnati extended its streak of consecutive first round byes to eight and are seeded third for the second time.
Cincinnati faces the winner of the tournament’s first round match between Charlotte and Memphis. That contest will be played on Friday, Nov. 22 at 2 p.m. ET. Charlotte is 17-14 this season, with a 7-6 C-USA slate, earning them their highest seeding for a C-USA Tournament ever. Memphis is 19-14 this season and 4-9 in C-USA play. Cincinnati defeated both opponents earlier this year.
About the Bearcats: After winning 12 straight and 17 of 18, the Bearcats fell to South Florida on Nov. 15, dropping them to the third seed for the 2002 Healthy Choice Conference USA Tournament. Cincinnati is led offensively by sophomore Julie DuPont and senior Bonita Wise. DuPont leads the team with 5.20 kills per game, while Wise ranks second in C-USA in hitting percentage (.345) and adds 3.55 kills per game. Defensively, Trish Ladusaw leads the conference in digs for the third straight year with 4.81 per game and Rachel Torblaa is tops in blocks with 1.56 per game.
About Charlotte: The 49ers (17-14, 7-6 C-USA) enter the Conference USA Tournament as the sixth seed, representing their highest seeding ever. Charlotte has won three in a row entering the tournament, including C-USA wins over Houston and TCU to solidify their number six seed. Courtney Burg is the 49ers’ leader, averaging a team-best 3.79 kills and 3.21 digs per game, ranking second on the squad. Abby Szlanfucht also cards above three kills a game at 3.18, while Laura Darnell paces the squad with 3.88 digs per game. Cincinnati owns an 11-2 advantage in the all-time series against Charlotte, including a three-game win earlier this year. The Bearcats won the only previous C-USA Tournament meeting with the 49ers, sweeping Charlotte in the 2000 quarterfinals.
About Memphis: The Tigers finished the regular season 19-14 overall and 4-9 in Conference USA to earn the 11th seed for the tournament. After starting the season 13-4, Memphis won just six of its final 16 contests, including four of the last six. Brittany Barnett ranks eighth in C-USA in kills per game with 4.12, while adding 2.58 digs per game. Lauren Berg leads the Tigers in digs per game with 3.20. The Bearcats hold a 25-15 advantage all-time against Memphis and have won nine straight meetings, including this season’s 3-1 victory on Nov. 1. Cincinnati won the only C-USA Tournament match between the schools last year in the quarterfinals.
Last Year in the C-USA Tournament: After capturing the regular season championship, the Bearcats entered the 2001 tournament as the top-seed, facing eighth-seeded Memphis in the quarterfinals. Against the Tigers, Trish Ladusaw had 15 kills and 15 digs, while Becky Stahl added 13 kills as the Bearcats swept Memphis. In the semifinals, Cincinnati faced fifth-seeded DePaul. The eventual tournament champion Blue Demons, pulled off the upset, knocking off the Bearcats in four games. Despite 19 kills from Bonita Wise and 18 from Becky Stahl, the Bearcats hit just .095 for the match. Stephanie Bishop and Katie Engel each had 16 kills and 11 digs in the win for DePaul.
Last Time Out: Match 26 - South Florida 3, UC 0: South Florida’s Michelle Collier racked up 27 kills and .392 as the Bulls swept a battle for first place in C-USA. Julie DuPont had 13 kills in a losing effort for the Bearcats.
Match 27 - UC 3, UAB 0: Julie DuPont had 13 kills and 10 digs and Rachel Torblaa added 10 kills and seven blocks as the Bearcats rolled to a three-game home win. Cincinnati limited UAB to an .036 hitting percentage in the match.
Last Time vs. Charlotte: Oct. 20, 2002-Julie DuPont and Bonita Wise each hit at least .360 with double-digit kills as the Bearcats swept a three-game home match from the 49ers. Trish Ladusaw added a match-high 18 digs in the win.
Last Time vs. Memphis: Nov. 1, 2002-Julie DuPont posted 24 kills and Rachel Torblaa had a career night with 18 kills and 11 blocks as the Bearcats won a hard fought four-game battle with Memphis. DuPont, Torblaa, Trish Ladusaw and Bonita Wise all recorded double-doubles in the match.
Bearcats In Regional Rankings: Cincinnati is ranked fourth in the Midwest region in the fourth NCAA regional rankings of the 2002 season. The Bearcats trail Conference USA members Louisville and South Florida, along with Loyola (Ill.). 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.
A Family Affair: Should Charlotte defeat Memphis and advance to face the Bearcats, it will set up round number two of the Newell family battle. UC sophomore Leslie Newell’s younger sister Lisa, is a starter on the Charlotte squad. Leslie’s team got the better end of the first meeting, as the Bearcats swept the 49ers. But individually, Lisa had the upper hand notching seven kills and three digs, while Leslie posted three kills and five digs.
Academic Honors: Two Bearcats were honored last week for excellence both on and off the court, as Julie DuPont and Trish Ladusaw were named to the Verizon Academic All-District team. DuPont was named to the first team, reserving a spot on the ballot for Academic All-America consideration, while Ladusaw garnered third team honors. DuPont is a communications disorders major carrying a 3.93 GPA, while Ladusaw is a marketing major with a 3.59 GPA. To qualify for these teams, students must hold at least a 3.2 GPA and be either a starter or key reserve for their team. The Academic All-America team will be announced on Dec. 5.
Hello Bye: For the eighth time in as many Conference USA tournaments, Cincinnati will receive a first-round bye as one of the top four seeds. The Bearcats have been the four-seed three times (1995, 1996 & 1997), the top-seed (1999, 2001) and the three-seed (1998, 2002) twice each and the two-seed (2000) once. They are 3-3 as the four-seed, 1-1 as No. 3, 1-1 as No. 2 and 4-1 as the top seed.
Senior Farewell: The Nov. 17 match against UAB marked the final home appearance for one of the most decorated senior classes in program history. Trish Ladusaw and Bonita Wise have combined for five all-conference first team honors in their career, while rewriting portions of the UC record book. Ladusaw and Wise have led the Bearcats to a 95-32 (.748 winning percentage) record in their four years.
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 second in block assists, third in blocks and fourth 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.
Ladusaw on the NCAA Digs Chart: Trish Ladusaw’s career digs per game average of 4.41 ties her for fifth all-time in Division I history, with Nia Kiggundu of Louisiana-Lafayette. 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. Trina Maso de Moya (4.56) of Wake Forest and Kylie Hunter of Chattanooga (4.44) complete the top four.
The Big Four?: With teammates Julie DuPont, Trish Ladusaw and Bonita Wise making most of the offensive headlines this season, Rachel Torblaa is putting together a very productive season. After carding a career high 18 kills in the Nov. 1 win over Memphis, Torblaa ranks fourth on the team with 2.34 kills per game, while hitting .263. Torblaa, who has eight double digit kills matches this season, has hit .400 or better in seven matches this season, all Cincinnati wins.
Chasing History: With 2,006 digs, Trish Ladusaw is seventh on the NCAA career digs lists. Against UAB on Nov. 17, Ladusaw became just the eighth player in NCAA history to record 2,000 career digs. She has a realistic chance of taking the number two spot by season’s end. Former Texas-San Antonio standout Shalynn McCoy ranks fifth with 2,009 digs, just three ahead of Ladusaw. Margie Kolat of Arkansas State holds the record with 2,291 digs.
More Freshmen Contributions: An important ingredient in the Bearcats’ success this season has been a steady contribution from the freshmen trio of Lindsey Garrison, Maddie Barron and Haley King. Garrison has started all but one match at libero, while Barron has been a starter in 14 contests this season. Garrison is fourth on the team in digs per game with 2.17, while Barron is fifth with 2.07 per game. In addition, Barron ranks second on the team in service aces with 19. King replaced an injured Leslie Newell in the starting lineup earlier this season, earning her first collegiate start against Saint Louis and posting a career-high six kills at TCU. The Bearcats have featured the last three Conference USA Freshman of the Year honorees, while placing at least one player on the All-Freshmen Team in each of the last four years.
Vast Improvement: For the second straight year, Cincinnati opened the season 2-5, before turning it around with a big stretch. After winning 16 in a row last year, the Bearcats won 17 of their next 18 after this year’s slow start. A look inside the numbers before and after the slow start:
During 2-5 Start During 17-1 Stretch
Kills/Game 16.00 16.83
Hitting Pct. .201 .281
Opp. Hitting Pct. .244 .137
Assists/Game 13.96 15.06
Aces/Game 0.92 1.27
Digs/Game 16.12 17.67
Blocks/Game 3.06 3.13
Another Player, Another Milestone: With teammates Bonita Wise and Trish Ladusaw having already rewritten the UC record books, setter Laura Lauder is quietly doing the same thing. In the Oct. 26 win over Southern Miss, Lauder, became the Bearcats’ all-time leader in career assists. With 4,173 assists in just over two seasons, Lauder passed Paige Pees, who racked up 3,851 from 1988-91. A closer look at the numbers show that Lauder earned the record in far fewer matches than Pees, as she has played in 85, compared to 132 for Pees. In Conference USA annals, Lauder’s total ranks as the seventh-highest in conference history.
A Familiar Face: The Nov. 11 edition of Sports Illustrated featured a familiar face to Bearcat volleyball followers as senior Trish Ladusaw was profiled in the “Faces in the Crowd” section. Ladusaw received mention in the section after breaking the Conference USA career digs record.
Getting It Done: Three times this season and four times in her career, Julie DuPont has come up just short of recording the fourth triple-double in school history. In the Nov. 1 win over Memphis, DuPont scored a match-high 24 kills, 13 digs and eight blocks, missing the feat by just two blocks. This comes after coming up one dig and two blocks short against Marquette and three blocks shy versus Nevada earlier this season.
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 2,006 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.
Bearcats in Conference USA: In the seven years of C-USA play, the Bearcats have gone 94-25 for a .790 winning percentage, ranking third in both, trailing only Louisville and South Florida. The Bearcats have now won 55 of their last 65 matches against C-USA opponents. Five of the 10 losses have been to Louisville.
Stepping It Up: After the first seven matches of the season, three-time all-conference performer Bonita Wise was hitting just .258, averaging 2.80 kills per game and had double-figure kills in only four matches as UC went 2-5. In the next 18 matches, 17 of them UC wins, Wise hit .373 and averaged 3.90 kills, 2.71 digs and 1.25 blocks a game while getting 10 or more kills in all 18 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 20 matches in which they have done that this year and are 37-2 over the last two seasons. Cincinnati established a school record against Eastern Kentucky for fewest points allowed in a match (50) since 30-point rally scoring was introduced last year. Another key element to the recent hot streak is UC’s improvement in opponents’ hitting percentage. After ranking 12th in the category early in the season, the Bearcats are now ranked first, holding opponents to a .167 clip. In the last 14 matches, 13 of them Cincinnati wins, the Bearcats have held all but one of their opponents under .200 hitting, including holding East Carolina to a season-low .032, UAB to .036 and Saint Louis to an .041 clip.
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. In a two-match swing to Texas Nov. 8-10, Wise hit a combined .516, including a stellar 19 kill, zero error performance against Houston. This season Wise has registered 10 matches hitting over .400, with three performances of at least eight kills and zero errors.
Newell’s Explosion: Nine matches into the season, sophomore Leslie Newell was injured and had hit just .192 for the season to that point. Following that stretch, Newell turned up her play over the next 14 matches, before getting injured on Nov. 1 against Memphis. During that span, Newell carded 2.43 kills per game and hit .361, while adding 1.00 blocks per game. 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 charts with a .793 match in 1994. Newell now is tied for eighth in Conference USA with a .299 hitting percentage.
Block Party: The Bearcats continued their run as the top blocking team in Conference USA over the weekend, posting 10 against UAB and adding eight more against South Florida. For the season, Cincinnati is averaging 3.09 blocks per game. Individually, Rachel Torblaa is leading C-USA and is ninth nationally with 1.56 blocks per game. Against Memphis on Nov. 1, Torblaa established a new career-high with 11 blocks.
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 5.20 kills per game. DuPont has surpassed the 20-kill mark 11 times with eight or more digs 19 times and four or more blocks 10 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 a conference-leading 1.56 blocks a game with five or more blocks in 17 matches, including a career-high 11 against Memphis. Her offensive output this year has been an added bonus. Torblaa is hitting .263 with 2.34 kills a game, carding eight or more kills in 14 matches.
Outstanding Individual Efforts: After a slow start, the Bearcats have rebounded to win 18 of their last 20 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 4.81 digs per game, while Rachel Torblaa is first with 1.56 blocks per game and Laura Lauder leads with 13.33 assists per game. In addition, Bonita Wise is second in hitting percentage (.345) and third in blocks (1.18). Julie DuPont ranks fifth in kills per game with 5.20 and Leslie Newell is tied for eighth in hitting percentage at .299.
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 seventh in the nation averaging 4.85 digs a game, and Lauder is 11th in assists per game with 13.39. Julie DuPont ranks 15th in the nation in kills per game with a 5.26 average and Rachel Torblaa is ninth in blocks, carding 1.57 per game. The statistics are through matches played Nov. 10.
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.
UC Picked Second in Preseason Poll: The defending Conference USA champion Bearcats were picked to finish second in 2002 in the coaches’ preseason poll, but fell to third by season’s end. Louisville, who finished one match behind UC last season, was picked to win the league and shared the regular season title with South Florida who was ranked third in the preseason.
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.
Bearcat Fan Wins Trip: Abby Mayer, a 12-year old Cincinnati girl was the winner of the free trip to the 2002 Healthy Choice Conference USA Tournament, courtesy of the conference. Mayer, who attends Finneytown Middle School and plays on the volleyball team, qualified for the drawing for the trip by hitting a special C-USA Tournament shirt during the serving contest at the intermission of a volleyball match at UC. Her name was then drawn at random from the list of qualifiers from all C-USA schools.