Resilience Lifts Bearcats to 3-2 Win at USF|
Nov. 15, 2013
TAMPA, Fla. – The University of Cincinnati volleyball team overcame a 2-0 deficit to capture a 3-2 (16-25, 19-25, 25-23, 25-19, 15-10) win over USF on Friday evening in Tampa, Fla. The win avenges a heartbreaking loss that the Bearcats suffered at the hands of the Bulls on Oct. 13 in Cincinnati, in which USF came from 0-2 down to win the match in five sets.
Entering the match, the USF Bulls had produced a 9-3 record in conference play and were sitting in a tie for second place in the American Athletic Conference. The Bearcats used everything in their arsenal to take down one of the league’s best teams and possibly play spoiler in USF’s bid for the AAC’s automatic qualification into the NCAA tournament.
Three players recorded double-doubles to lead the Bearcats. Sophomore Morgan Allred (Carrolton, Texas/Hebron) had 10 kills and a team-high 13 digs, sophomore Amelia Wegman (Aurora, Ill./Rosary) tallied 10 kills and 10 digs and junior Madi Lang (Commerce Township, Mich./Florida Atlantic) dished out a match-high and career-high 42 assists with 11 digs.
“I am very proud of our team” said head coach Molly Alvey. “Any time you go down two sets to none it is very difficult to win. After set number two we went in and made some minor adjustments and were able to execute those adjustments over a long period of time.”
After falling behind 2-0 in the match after two lackluster games, the Bearcats stormed out of the intermission to win sets three and four and force a decisive fifth game. Cincinnati recorded five consecutive kills by four different players in the fifth set to surge to a 10-5 lead and never looked back. UC closed out the game with kills by freshman Ciara Hill (Bolingbrook, Ill./Bolingbrook) and Lang and an emphatic service ace from junior Me’Ashah Nicholson (Shiloh, Ill./Belleville Althoff) to win the game 15-10 and record its second victory of the year. Cincinnati hit 12 kills with only one error in the final game for a .550 attacking percentage.
The Bearcats recorded their most well-rounded game of the season with six players tallying at least one double-digit statistic. In addition to Allred, Lang and Wegman, junior Jamie Netisingha (Westmont, Ill./Hinsdale Central) and freshman Shelby Green (Dripping Springs, Texas/Dripping Springs) recorded double-digit dig totals with 12 and 11, respectively. Freshman Breanna Barksdale (Chula Vista, Calif./Eastlake) had 14 kills and Hill added 10.
UC also had six players with at least two blocks, including eight from Nicholson and five apiece from Hill and Barksdale. The Bearcats totaled 14.0 blocks, their second-highest total of the season, to lead the Bulls who recorded 10.0.
Green added a career-high six service aces, individually matching the six aces the entire USF team produced. Cincinnati totaled a season-high 10 service aces in the match.
Collectively, UC hit 59 kills and a .268 hitting percentage. After allowing the Bulls to record attacking clips of .389 and .452 in the first two games, the Cincinnati defense buckled down, only allowing an average of .142 the remainder of the match for USF while hitting .364 itself during the final three games.
The Bearcats began the comeback with a gritty 25-23 win in the third set. After falling behind 19-15, Barksdale put the team on her shoulders and had a hand in the next four points to pull her team even at 19-19. The freshman had two kills and two blocks during the run to kick start the Bearcats’ efforts. Cincinnati grabbed its first lead at 21-20 after a solo block by Allred and used a USF attacking error to earn the 25-23 final score.
Defensive dominance was name of the game in the fourth set with the Bearcats recording points off of seven blocks. Nicholson stuffed two assisted blocks during a five-point run to put her team ahead 11-8 in the early stages of the game, and connected on four more blocks during a second five-point scoring run to give UC a 24-18 advantage. A kill by freshman Hill ended the set at 25-19 and pushed the game into the fifth stanza.
USF opened the match with a potent attack that Cincinnati could not find an answer for. The Bulls hit 17 and 16 kills in the first two games, respectively, with a combined five attacking errors. Wegman led UC during the opening two sets with seven kills.
The Bearcats are back in action on Sunday, Nov. 17 when they travel to Orlando, Fla., to take on the second-place Knights of UCF at 2 p.m.