Valiant Comeback Effort Falls Short at Cincinnati

Sept. 7, 2010

Box Score

CINCINNATI – Behind tremendous play from its veterans the 16th-ranked Kentucky volleyball team staged an impressive comeback effort trailing 2-1 in sets and by a five-point margin in the fourth frame to eventually fall to Cincinnati 3-2 (25-16, 18-25, 25-15, 23-25, 15-13) Tuesday night. UK’s veterans put the team on their back and carried the match into the decisive fifth frame despite trailing a number of times throughout the match.

Kentucky (4-3) falls for the first time this season in extra frames after previously defeating Louisville and South Florida in five-set thrillers. Seniors Blaire Hiler and Lauren Rapp led the way offensively with 13 and 12 kills, respectively. Junior Ann Armes chipped in with nine hammers while Becky Pavan and Gretchen Giesler totaled seven and six.

Setter Christine Hartmann dished out 41 assists and UK hit at a .234 clip for the match. The Wildcats also posted an impressive 14.0 blocks led by Rapp’s eight. Stephanie Klefot led the back row defense with 16 digs, while Armes chipped in with 10 scoops. Jessi Greenberg set a career best with seven digs.

In the decisive fifth stanza, the teams exchanged points until UK charted consecutive points behind a Cincinnati erroneous attack and the combination of Pavan and Rapp on the block for an 8-6 edge into the switch. Miscommunication among the Bearcats enabled Armes to score another kill and give UK the 9-6 advantage and forcing Cincinnati into a timeout.

A solo rejection by Pavan pushed UK’s lead to four by an 11-7 margin. Cincinnati answered with three consecutive points of its own to pull to within 11-10 as UK opted to use a timeout to end the scoring.

Out of the break the home team came up with the point after an extended rally to tie the score at 11. The Bearcats kept their rally going with a block before Rapp found a spot to end the run and knot the score at 12. Rapp and Giesler then teamed up for another rejection to once again give the Wildcats an advantage at 13-12. The Bearcats’ totaled consecutive scores and earned match-point behind a kill and an ill-timed error by the Blue and White. In what appeared to be a long-hit by the Bearcats the officials awarded a tip to the home team allowing the Bearcats to claim the 15-13 decisive fifth set victory and the match.

Pavan opened the scoring in the first stanza with a kill to give the Wildcats an early edge. UK broke open a 4-1 lead behind a solo block from Rapp, but then Cincinnati played its way back into things. The home squad eventually knotted the score at seven apiece after a UK miscue. Cincinnati would close out the set with runs of 6-0 and 5-0 to take the opening set by a 25-16 margin.

The Bearcats benefited from a combined 13 errors by the Wildcats in the stanza to earn the edge. UK’s offense posted nine kills on a mere .057 hitting, while Cincinnati registered 11 hammers on .182 hitting.

The Wildcats came back with renewed passion in the second stanza as UK scored the first two points of the second set to open with a 2-0 advantage. Kentucky combined for a triple block to get the momentum on its side and UK never once trailed in the frame. The Blue and White’s offense was operating on all cylinders with Hartmann finding six different Wildcats for a kill. After a Cincinnati timeout, UK fired with two more points to take a 19-13 advantage and forcing the Bearcats to burn its final timeout.

Cincinnati attempted to close the gap in the later portion of the set and got to within 21-18 after a service ace. However, the Blue and White did not allow the home team to get any closer as UK scored the final four points of the set to even the match at one set apiece. Rapp closed the set with a solo rejection to give the Wildcats a 25-18 victory.

Kentucky charted 13 kills and hit a staggering season-high .600 in the frame with just one hitting error while spreading the offense to six different players.

Cincinnati jumped out to an early lead and never looked back in claiming a 25-15 set three victory to go up 2-1. The Bearcats charted 16 kills on .467 hitting to capture the win.

After exchanging points back and forth to open the fourth frame a Cincinnati error allowed UK to tie the score at two apiece. The home team then broke free for five consecutive points to earn a 7-2 lead and forcing UK to use an early timeout. Out of the break, Kentucky climbed back into things and brought the score to within 8-6 after a block off of the arms of Giesler and Rapp. A service ace from Rapp capped off three straight points from the visitors and knotted the score at nine apiece. Cincinnati responded with a 4-0 run of its own to reclaim the lead at 13-9.

Consecutive kills from Rapp allowed the Blue and White to once again get back into the thick of it by tying the score at 15. UK captured its first lead since 2-1 when it forced the home team into an erroneous attack to take the edge at 16-15 after a 6-0 run of its own.

The home team responded with a 3-0 run to recapture the lead at 18-17. From there the teams exchanged points until Hiler came up with a kill and then Cincinnati hit the ball into the next for the Wildcats to earn a 23-22 advantage and forcing the Bearcats into their final timeout. Out of the break, Cincinnati answered with a kill of its own to tie the score once again. Armes pounded the ball into the floor and then the UK defense forced the Bearcats into a mishit to capture the fourth frame by a 25-23 margin and force a decisive fifth frame.

Kentucky charted 16 kills on .250 hitting in the fourth stanza with Hiler tallying five kills to lead the way. UK’s defense forced the Bearcats into eight errors and just a .108 hitting clip.

Kentucky will resume action with its second consecutive weekend home tournament beginning Friday, Sept. 10. The UK Invitational involves No. 17 Florida State, Kansas State and Virginia Commonwealth joining the field with Kentucky. UK takes on the Seminoles on Friday at 7 p.m. ET for its first match of the tournament. Florida State knocked the Blue and White out of the NCAA Tournament at the Sweet 16 in 2009.

Follow along all season long with the Wildcats at UKathletics.com.