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Mustangs Slip Into First-Place Tie With Cincinnati After 3-0 Loss
CINCINNATI, Ohio (SMU) – The SMU volleyball team slipped back into a first-place tie with Cincinnati after a 3-0 loss on the road (25-22, 25-13, 25-23). SMU fell to 18-7 overall and 11-2 in the American Athletic Conference after the first loss to the Bearcats (16-8, 11-2 The American) in the eight-match series that started in 2013.
SMU trailed 20-14 in the third set before scoring four straight points, including two kills and a block by Brittany Adams, to cut the lead to two, 20-18. The Mustangs came all the way back to tie the score six serves later, 22-22. On the next four points, SMU had two service errors and an attack error, along with a Kristen Stehling kill, giving three points to Cincinnati and ending the match, falling 25-23 in the third set.
Adams led the Mustangs with eight kills, hitting .312, and Stehling scored seven kills with a .250 attack percentage. They were the only SMU attackers to hit above .200 in the match. Katie Hegarty scored five kills, but had six attack errors. Janelle Giordano finished with four kills and four blocks, and two-time conference Libero of the Year, Morgan Heise, was limited to seven digs. Freshman Montana Watts recorded eight digs.
Cincinnati hit .323 against the league's top statistical defense, with league-leader Jordan Thompson scoring a match-high 15 kills. Carly Nolan finished with 13 kills, and Ciara Hill added eight for the Bearcats.
The Bearcats won the first set, 25-22, overcoming an early SMU lead and out-scoring the Mustangs down the stretch for the win. SMU led 19-18, but the Bearcats went on a 7-4 run to close out the set. The Mustangs were limited to just eight kills in the set, but scored with three services aces and three blocks.
SMU fell behind 2-0 in the match after a 25-13 defeat in the second set. The Bearcats hit .464 with 15 kills and just two errors in the set, again limiting the SMU offense. The Mustangs managed just 10 kills, and the league's top defense posted just 10 digs with no blocks in the set.
The Mustangs play at East Carolina Sunday at 1 p.m. SMU's next home matches are Thursday, Nov. 10, against UCF and Saturday, Nov. 12, against USF.
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