Slow Start Hurts Bearcats in 3-1 Loss to SMU|
Nov. 8, 2013
CINCINNATI – The University of Cincinnati volleyball team attempted a late-match comeback, but could not overcome a slow start, falling 3-1 (25-17, 25-16, 23-25, 25-14) to SMU on Friday afternoon in Fifth Third Arena.
After falling behind 2-0 in the match the Bearcats surged out of the intermission and recorded a 25-23 victory in the third game, but could not climb out of the hole from the first two sets. Cincinnati found contributions from many players throughout the match, including six kills and 15 digs from freshman Mallory Blauser (Round Rock, Texas/Round Rock Christian Academy) and seven kills and five blocks from redshirt freshman Alison Kimmel (Plainfield, Ill./Plainfield North) who have each seen limited playing time this season.
Freshman Ciara Hil (Bolingbrook, Ill./Bolingbrook)l led Cincinnati with eight kills while Blauser and freshman Shelby Green (Dripping Springs, Texas/Dripping Springs) each had 15 digs. Junior Madi Lang (Commerce Township, Mich./Florida Atlantic) and freshman Kristin Conor (Lone Tree, Colo./Highlands Ranch) each dished out 18 assists for the Bearcats.
After a sluggish start, Cincinnati showed more life in the third game, winning 25-23 and bringing the match score to 2-1. Blauser recorded back-to-back kills to give her team a 6-4 lead, and a tough block by Hill and Kimmel kept the two-point lead at 12-10, forcing the Mustangs into a timeout. The lead extended to five points at 16-11 following two kills by Kimmel and Hill and a Kimmel/Blauser block made it 18-12 and forced SMU into its second timeout of the game. The Mustangs made it interesting late, thwarting four UC set-point attempts until a kill by Blauser finally ended the game in favor of the Bearcats. Blauser and Hill each tallied four kills in the set for UC while Kimmel and Hill each recorded three blocks.
Defensively, the Bearcats had an answer for three-time and reigning American Athletic Conference player of the Week Caroline Young who finished the match with only eight kills and a .115 attacking percentage.
The Bearcats recorded 11.0 blocks in the match for their 11th double-digit blocking match of the season. Cincinnati’s 53 digs put the Bearcats above the 50-digs per match threshold for the sixth consecutive match and its 22 errors are its second-lowest total during the previous six matches.
SMU took the first set by a score of 25-17 after employing a seven-point run to take a 19-11 lead. The Bearcats could not contain the powerful Mustangs in the opening stanza, and allowed three players with at least three kills. Freshman Breanna Barksdale (Chula Vista, Calif./Eastlake) led the charge for UC with four kills in the set.
The Bearcats fell behind 2-0 in the match after a 25-16 score in the second game. Cincinnati did a good job of averting a large SMU run and did not allow the Mustangs to score more than three points at a time until a four-point SMU scoring run closed out the game. Blauser led the Bearcats with four digs and also added two kills during the game.
In the fourth and final game of the match, SMU closed out a 25-14 victory. The Mustangs used three scoring runs of at least four points to open a large lead and put the pressure of the Bearcats from the opening serve. Kimmel slammed home four kills in the set to lead Cincinnati.
The Bearcats are back in action on Sunday, Nov. 10 when they host the Cougars of the University of Houston at 1 p.m. in Fifth Third Arena.