Cincinnati Defeats Marquette 3-2 in Semifinals of BIG EAST Volleyball Championship


MILWAUKEE, Wis. - No. 2 seed Cincinnati (24-8, 12-2 BIG EAST) defeated No. 3 seed Marquette (23-9, 12-2 BIG EAST) 3-2 (21-25,21-25,25-22,25-17,15-13) in the second semifinal match of the BIG EAST Volleyball Championship on Saturday at the Al McGuire Center. Down 0-2, the Bearcats rallied to qualify for its third consecutive BIG EAST Championship game. With the victory, Cincinnati extends its winning streak to 11 matches.
First-Team All-BIG EAST members Missy Harpenau and Jordanne Scott led the Bearcats with 21 and 15 kills, respectively. The Bearcats, who defeated Marquette 3-1 on Nov. 5, registered a .390 hitting percentage. Seniors Ashley Beyer and Ciara Jones provided the offense for Marquette with 20 and 17 kills, respectively. The Golden Eagles had a .390 hitting percentage in the match.
Marquette won the first set 25-21. Beyer led the Golden Eagles with five kills while Jones and junior Danielle Carlson each had three kills. Harpenau provided six kills and three digs in the first set for the Bearcats.
Junior Holly Mertens led Marquette to a 25-21 victory in the second set with six kills. Beyer and Jones each tacked on four more kills to give the Golden Eagles a two-set advantage. Marquette hit at a .469 clip in the second set.
Backs to the wall, Cincinnati responded in the third set with a 25-22 win. Harpenau, Scott and junior Becca Refenes each had four kills. Despite five kills from both Beyer and Jones, Marquette was unable to secure the match in the third set.
Cincinnati won the fourth set 25-17 as the team registered a .421 hitting percentage. Scott was an offensive force registering six kills while Harpenau added four.
Trailing 8-7 in the final set, Cincinnati was able to win the match by taking a 15-13 victory in fifth set. Harpenau fueled the Cincinnati victory with five kills in the deciding set.
Cincinnati will face No. 5 seed Notre Dame in Sunday's Championship match at 4 p.m. ET/3 p.m. CT. The game will be televised live on ESPNU. Last year the two teams met in the semifinals of the BIG EAST Championship with Cincinnati taking a 3-0 victory.
Championship Bracket:
Quarterfinals, Friday, Nov. 18
Match 1: No. 5 Notre Dame 3, No. 4 Syracuse 1 (27-25,25-17,21-25,25-19) 
Match 2: No. 1 Louisville 3, No. 8 Pittsburgh 1 (25-13,25-20,24-26,25-20)
Match 3: No. 2 Cincinnati 3, No. 7 Villanova 0 (25-11,25-14,25-16) 
Match 4: No. 3 Marquette 3, No. 6 Seton Hall 0 (25-22,25-21,25-21)
Semifinals, Saturday, Nov. 19
Match 5: Notre Dame 3, Louisville 1 (25-22,22-25,25-21,25-19)  
Match 6: Cincinnati 3, Marquette 2 (21-25,21-25,25-22,25-17,15-13)
Championship, Sunday, Nov. 20
Match 7: No. 2 Cincinnati vs. No. 5 Notre Dame, 4:00 p.m. ET/ 3:00 p.m. CT (LIVE - ESPNU)