DAYTON, Ohio---The University of Cincinnati volleyball team took a big step towards an NCAA at-large berth, with a hard fought four-game win over Dayton in the Conference USA/Atlantic 10 Challenge on Friday night. The win improves the Bearcats record to 22-8 overall, while Dayton ends the contest with the same mark.
Julie DuPont led the offensive attack with 24 kills, while Trish Ladusaw added 17 with a match-high 21 digs. Bonita Wise (15) and Rachel Torblaa (10) also carded double-digit kills for the Bearcats. Erin Treadway led four Flyers in double figures with 20 kills.
“I thought we played pretty well all night,” said Bearcat head coach Reed Sunahara. “We had a let down in game three that gave Dayton the momentum. When you get to game four, anything can happen, but we stepped it up and pulled it out.”
Game one was hotly contested throughout and featured seven ties, with the last coming at 11 all. DuPont, Torblaa and Wise paced the Bearcat attack early, as each carded two kills before the final tie. A Wise kill gave Cincinnati the lead for good, but Dayton kept it close, never trailing by more than two. Another Wise kill sandwiched around kills by Ladusaw and Laura Lauder gave the Bearcats its largest lead to that point, four at 21-17.
DuPont recorded kills on three of the match’s next six points and a ball handling error on the Flyers, forced another Dayton timeout at 25-21. Maddie Barron’s ace gave Cincinnati a five-point edge, but the Flyers responded with three consecutive points on kills by Julie Neiser and Susan Westbrock and an ace by Christy Untage, forcing Sunahara to call a Bearcat timeout.
Following the break, the two teams traded points, with the Bearcats holding a two-point edge at 27-25. A pair of Dayton errors, along with a block by Lauder, closed out a game one 30-25 win for the Bearcats. Both teams hit well in game one, with the Bearcats holding a .410-.357 advantage. Ladusaw and DuPont led the Bearcats in game one with five kills apiece, hitting .500 and .444 respectively. Westbrock led the home team in the first stanza with six kills, hitting .667.
Treadway got the Flyers off to a great start in game two, carding four kills early on to push Dayton to a 5-2 lead. The Bearcats responded with a 6-1 lead, behind the sophomore tandem of DuPont and Torblaa. DuPont scored three kills, while Torblaa added a kill and a block to give the visitors an 8-6 advantage. The game stayed close throughout, with Cincinnati never holding more than a three-point advantage.
A DuPont kill made the score 25-22 Cincinnati and forced a Dayton timeout. The Bearcats closed out game two by scoring the last five points of the frame. DuPont and Ladusaw each had kills in the spurt, while Leslie Newell and Torblaa teamed up for a block and Ladusaw registered a solo. The game ended with Dayton forfeiting the final point as head coach Pete Hoyer received his second caution of the game.
Cincinnati continued their hot hitting in game two, carding a .432 clip, while holding the Flyers to .186. DuPont scored seven more kills in game two, while Ladusaw added four more.
Game three was a battle to the end and featured 16 ties, with Dayton never trailing by more than three after the Bearcats took the lead at 17-16 on a kill by Ladusaw. The game was tied seven times from 22 all to the end, with the Flyers fighting off two match points for the Bearcats. Cincinnati called a timeout trailing 28-27, but back-to-back kills by Wise and Ladusaw gave the visitors match point number one. Treadway and Wise traded kills, giving Cincinnati another match point at 30-29, but the Flyers ripped off the game’s final three points to close out a 32-30 win.
For the first time in the match, the Bearcats were outhit in game three, trailing .302 to .281. DuPont had seven more kills in game three to finish with 19 after three stanzas, while Ladusaw (14) and Wise (10) were also in double figure kills.
The fourth game had much of the same flavor as the third, featuring eight ties before either team reached 15 points. Wise, Torblaa and DuPont paced UC early, with each carding a pair of kills. The stanza produced seven more ties, before a Newell kill sparked a 7-2 Cincinnati run that closed out the game. Wise got hot again down the stretch, recording two more kills and doubling with DuPont for a block on match point.
The Bearcats will conclude the regular season tomorrow battling cross-town rival Xavier in a match set for a 2 p.m. start.
· With 21 digs, Trish Ladusaw moves into third place on the NCAA career digs list with 2,045.
· Laura Lauder’s 55 assists give her 4,307 for her career, moving her into sixth place on the Conference USA career chart.