Dec. 3, 2010

Courtesy of Cincinnati Athletics

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - No. 21 University of Cincinnati advanced to the second round of the NCAA Volleyball Championship after defeating Western Kentucky University in three sets (25-22, 28-26, 25-12) on Friday, Dec. 3, at Huff Hall.

BIG EAST Player of the Year Stephanie Niemer (Erlanger, Ky./St. Henry) led the way for the Bearcats (30-5, 13-1 BIG EAST), smacking a match-high 21 kills while adding eight digs. All-BIG EAST first teamers Annie Fesl (Arlington Heights, Ill./John Hersey) and Jordanne Scott (Indianapolis, Ind./Lawrence North) posted match highs of 44 assists and a .625 hitting percentage, respectively.

With the score tied in the first set, Cincinnati railed off three straight points to take a 21-18 lead. After Scott and Niemer kills brought the tally to 24-20, the Hilltoppers came back to within two at 24-22 before another Niemer kill ended the first set 25-22. Both offenses brought A-game performances in a first set that featured 13 ties.

Cincinnati hit a blistering .704 percentage in the first, while WKU was right behind at .633. Scott and Niemer led all players with seven kills each in the first set, while Fesl dished out 17 assists.

The Hilltoppers built an early 8-6 lead in the second set before UC leapfrogged them to take a 16-14 advantage. WKU then fought back to a 26-25 lead. Facing set point, the Bearcats went on a 3-0 run to win the second 28-26.

Niemer led UC with 10 kills in the second set, followed by four each from Scott and sophomore middle blocker Becca Refenes (Westland, Mich./Lutheran Westland). Fesl increased her match-assists total to 33 after passing out 16 in the second.

After two close sets, Cincinnati blew out WKU in the third set, scoring five consecutive points to increase its lead to 14-6. A 3-0 run followed to give the Bearcats a 20-10 lead before taking the set 25-12.

Cincinnati will play the winner between Austin Peay and Illinios on Saturday, Dec. 4, at 8 p.m. EST at Huff Hall in Champaign, Ill. The match will be streamed live on