Bearcats Drop 3-2 Heartbreaker in Season Finale|
Nov. 29, 2013
CINCINNATI - The University of Cincinnati volleyball team came from two sets down to force a decisive fifth set, but ultimately could not complete the comeback, falling 3-2 (25-18, 25-20, 18-25, 29-31, 15-10) at the hands of the University of Connecticut on Friday afternoon at Fifth Third Arena. The match was the season finale for both teams.
The Bearcats dropped the first two sets by scores of 25-18 and 25-20 but did not get discouraged, winning the third and fourth sets out of the intermission to force a final set between the two teams.
Junior Madi Lang (Commerce Township, Mich./Florida Atlantic) led the Bearcats with a career-high 56 assists and 12 digs for her sixth double-double of the season, and her fourth in the last five matches.
Offensively, junior Me'Asah Nicholson (Shiloh, Ill./Belleville Althoff) led the way with a match-high 16 kills and a .448 hitting percentage. Freshman Ciara Hill (Bolingbrook, Ill./Bolingbrook) contributed 15 kills while sophomore Amelia Wegman (Aurora, Ill./Rosary) and freshmen Breanna Barksdale (Chula Vista, Calif./Eastlake) and Samantha Schrenker (Elmhurst, Ill./York Community) each tallied nine.
Junior Jamie Netisingha (Westmont, Ill./Hinsdale Central) and sophomore Morgan Allred (Carrolton, Texas/Hebron) led the team with 13 digs apiece. Lang and freshman Shelby Green (Dripping Sprongs, Texas/Dripping Springs) also recorded double-digit digs with 12 and 10, respectively.
Lang's 56 assists, aided by a career-high eight assists from Green, helped the Bearcats dish out a season-best 68 in the match.
After falling behind 2-0 in the match, Cincinnati showed its resilience in the fourth game. Neither team could get a firm lead on the scoreboard, but a block by Lang and Barksdale tied the score at 23-23 and set off a firestorm of points to close the set. The remaining 14 points scored included one match point for Connecticut and five set points for Cincinnati before a kill by Hill and another Lang/Barksdale block finally gave UC the 31-29 win. The 31-point set was the longest of the season for the Bearcats. The home team recorded 21 kills in the game, the most for Cincinnati in a single set this season. Nicholson led the way with six kills and Lang had 19 assists. The Bearcats also tallied five of their nine blocks in the fourth game.
Cincinnati began the comeback effort in the third set with a dominating 25-18 win over Connecticut. The Bearcats used six straight points to build a 10-6 lead after two kills apiece from Nicholson, Allred and Schrenker. A UC attacking error pulled the visitors to within 20-18 before the Bearcats rattled off five straight points to win 25-20. The final point of the game was a skillful service ace from Allred, who got the ball to hit the net and dive to the floor in front of every UConn player. Nicholson and Hill each recorded five kills in the game for the Bearcats while Lang tallied 14 assists and Allred picked up six digs.
The Bearcats looked to be in command of the first set early, but Connecticut answered to win the game 25-18. UC stormed out of the gate to take a 4-0 lead after a kill and a service ace from Nicholson, a kill from Allred and a UConn attacking error. Connecticut responded out of the timeout, however, and surged to a 14-9 lead. The Huskies seemed to control the remainder of the game and three consecutive points for Connecticut made it 22-15 before a kill by Jade Strawberry ended the set at 25-18.
UC held a 13-8 lead in the second game but fell victim to a 10-3 scoring run in favor of the Huskies to suddenly trail 18-16. Back-to-back UConn kills made the score 25-20 and gave Connecticut a 2-0 lead in the match.
The Bearcats' comeback ran out of steam in the fifth set, but not due to lack of effort. Five different players recorded a kill during the final stanza and Lang offered up eight assists, more than the entire UConn team could manage. A kill by Hill and a Hill/Barksdale block pulled the Bearcats to within 13-8 and scared the Huskies into a timeout, but the home team could not prevail, falling 15-10 in the final game.
The match wraps up the 2013 season for the Bearcats and closes its first season as part of the American Athletic Conference.