Alex Frank | Sports Director
Opening weekend of newly-renovated Fifth-Third Arena continued Friday night with the Cincinnati Bearcats women’s volleyball sweeping the Wichita State Shockers for their 20th win of the season.
“What an unbelievable, amazing event tonight,” head coach Molly Alvey said. “The arena is amazing. And to get our first win in the arena like that I think is really exciting.”
Wichita State, though, was very active, particularly at the net, early in the first set as the American Athletic Conference preseason favorites raced out to a 4-0 lead.
But unlike the first set in the Bearcats last match Sunday at Tulane, a 25-13 loss, the Bearcats responded for a 25-23 win that included a 6-0 run to win the opening set.
The momentum generated in the first set carried over into the second as the Bearcats dominated with a 25-12 win.
The Shockers kept it close early in the third set, at one instance having the score tied at four, but the Bearcats held the lead the rest of the way, culminating in a 25-17 win that closed out the match.
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Redshirt-junior outside hitter Jordan Thompson had another impressive night as her extraordinary season continued with 24 kills, and she became the AAC’s single-season points leader, in her season total to 702.5
The conference’s preseason player of the year for the third straight season also tallied an impressive .611 hitting percentage.
Freshman outside hitter Maria Mallon also had a big night with a double-double off 10 digs and 11 kills.
She also recorded two blocks, one of which ended the first set that had her, and the rest of the team, as fired up as fans are of the renovations inside Fifth-Third Arena.
Senior setter Jade Tinglehoff had 40 assists and 11 digs.
The win Friday night keeps the Bearcats in alone in second place in the American at 10-2, the same place where they were picked to finish in the preseason coaches’ poll.
The Bearcats will be back on the court at Fifth-Third Arena Sunday against the Tulsa Golden Hurricane, a match that will get underway at 1 p.m..
“This atmosphere is the atmosphere I would like to grow for this volleyball program for every single match that we have,” Alvey said. “It was a tremendous environment.”