The University of Cincinnati volleyball team took on the Memphis Tigers on Friday night at Fifth Third Arena for their first home conference game of the season. The Bearcats secured a 3-1 victory over Memphis, advancing to 7-4 on the season.
Both teams entered the match coming off victories in their last games, with the Cincinnati Bearcats winning on the road at USF 3-2. The Tigers ended their three-game losing streak by knocking off the Temple Owls 3-1.
The opening set went back and forth, with the Bearcats leading 12-7. The momentum began to change as Memphis took nine of the next 11 points to take a 22-19 lead. The Tigers took the first set 25-21.
However, Cincinnati made the second set a different story. Cincinnati jumped out to an early 11-3 lead and never trailed during the set. The Tigers briefly went on a small run, but it wasn’t enough as the Bearcats won the set 25-14.
Both sides came out strong in the third set, but the Bearcats pulled away late after leading 12-8. Cincinnati took the set 25-16, thanks in part to their four aces.
In the fourth and final set, the Tigers opened with three straight points, but they quickly fell after a 5-0 run from the Bearcats. The set continued to go back and forth before the Bearcats scored eight straight points to take a 22-14 lead. The Tigers continued to fight until the end, but the Bearcats took the set 25-21.
A big reason for the Cincinnati victory was that they had a season-high 12 blocks, with seven coming from freshman Abby Walker – a new career-high for her. On top of that, Walker set highs in points with 25 and five service aces.
Walker wasn’t the only freshman who had a huge game. Emme Madden had a match-high of 47 assists.
Senior Shannon Williams also had a big game with a team-high of 15 kills. Junior Payton Frederick led the match with 24 digs despite only participating in three of the four sets.
With the victory, the Bearcats improved to 7-4 (2-1 in conference play), and the Tigers dropped to 8-7 (1-2 in conference play).
The last meeting between these two schools was in 2019 when Cincinnati shut out the Tigers 3-0. The all-time series is now 35-21 in favor of the Bearcats, with Cincinnati winning eight in a row.