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Volleyball Finishes Second at 2014 UConn Classic

Devon Maugle posted three straight double-doubles in tournament action.
Aug. 30, 2014

Game 1 Final Stats Game 2 Finals Stats

STORRS, Conn. –
The University of Connecticut volleyball team rounded out play at the 2014 UConn Classic with a split against Central Connecticut State University and Indiana on Saturday at Harry A. Gampel Pavilion. The Huskies, who finished second in the season-opening tournament, move to 2-1 on the young season.

Immanuella Anagu (Culver City, Calif.) and Devon Maugle (Plymouth Meeting, Pa.) earned spots on the All-Tournament team after helping the Huskies reach the championship game against the Hoosiers.  

Game 1 vs. CCSU

Junior tri-captain Erika Thomas delivered a career-best performance in the afternoon’s first match, notching 19 kills to go along with a stellar .365 hitting percentage. In addition to her work on offense, she tallied seven block assists and also secured five digs. Fellow captain Maugle continued her strong 2014 campaign with a second consecutive double-double (13 kills, 12 digs) and Brianna Datti (Druham, N.H.) set a career high with 35 digs.

The Huskies registered 18 team blocks, fueled by seven block assists from both Thomas and Anagu, who also chipped in three solo blocks.

UConn dominated the first set, doubling up their in-state foes, 12-6, forcing the Blue Devils to call for time. The Huskies continued to attack following the break, stringing together eight of the next 11 points and pushing the Blue Devils to use their final timeout of the set trailing, 20-9. Freshman Kenya Cason (Columbus, Ohio) slammed down three straight kills before an attack error by the Blue Devils ended the set.

The Blue Devils responded in the second set, moving ahead of the Huskies by a score of 10-6 before Kris Grunwald asked for a breather. UConn then burst ahead courtesy of a 14-4 run that was sandwiched between a Central timeout. With the Huskies leading 24-22, Maugle registered the set-winning kill on a beautiful assist from Jessika Long (Sandy, Utah).

The third set started dead-even with the squads trading points to 11-11. The Blue Devils opened their lead to 18-13 before three attack errors inched the Huskies closer at 19-17. Central’s Heather Trueman notched two straight kills forcing UConn to take a timeout.  A big kill from Thomas brought the home team within one before two attack errors opened the score to 23-20 in favor of Central. Ashley Lenington recorded a service ace that extended the Blue Devil lead to 24-20 before Connecticut rattled off five straight points to take a slim 25-24 lead. Another Trueman kill drew the Blue Devils even before a pair of Husky attack errors ended the set, 27-25.

The Blue Devils rode the momentum from their third-set victory into the early stages of the fourth set, doubling up UConn, 8-4. The two squads traded points before kills from Anagu and Jade Strawberry (Tallahassee, Fla.) evened things up at 13 apiece. The energized Blue Devils could not be slowed, pulling ahead by seven before sealing the set with a service ace.

The action remained close in the early portion of the decisive fifth-set  before a Maugle kill and a Cason ace pushed the Husky lead to 8-4 and drew a Central timeout. Central inched to within one but couldn’t get any closer as Cason secured the match with two powerful kills.

The win marked the first time UConn had opened the season with two straight wins since 2010.

Game 2 vs. Indiana

Maugle continued her stretch of strong play in a five-set thriller against the Hoosiers, notching a team-best 17 kills and also securing 11 digs. Also joining Maugle with a double-double was Cason (14 kills, 12 digs), who is hitting at a .213 clip through three contests and Rebecca Rivera (29 assists, 11 digs), who handled the setting duties. Anagu was a force for the Huskies at the net, recording 11 kills and 10 block assists.

The highly-anticipated match started off even with both teams trading points until the score reached 11-11. A Thomas kill pushed UConn out in front and the Huskies never looked back in the set, finishing on a 14-8 run, fueled by a four-kill performance from Maugle.

Indiana drew even in the second set, battling back from an early 13-10 deficit to tie the score at 19 apiece. UConn seemed to gain momentum after a Thomas kill and an Indiana attack error gave it a two-point lead and forced an Indiana stoppage but Tournament MVP Morgan Leach slammed down a kill and later two consecutive kills from Amelia Anderson gave the Hoosiers a 27-25 victory.

UConn would not be stopped in the third, staking itself to an 18-10 lead and drawing the first Hoosier timeout of the set. After Indiana put together four consecutive points, Anagu and Katherine Towslee came up with a pair of kills to push the Huskies closer to the set victory. A combo block by Thomas and Anagu finished off the set and gave UConn a 2-1 lead.

Indiana could not be put away in the fourth frame, pulling ahead 6-5 and never relinquishing the lead. A Cason kill brought the Huskies back within one at 16-15 but Anderson again came up with a pair of timely kills to extend the Hoosier lead. Anderson again answered the call with the set-sealing kill just a few minutes later.

The deciding set was filled with intensity as neither team could gain a lead larger than two throughout the early stages. Indiana slammed a kill down to move ahead 13-11 and took home the match victory on a service ace.

The Huskies will have a week off before traveling to the NC State Tournament on Sept. 5. First serve is set for 4 p.m. in Raleigh, N.C. 

2014 UConn Classic MVP: Morgan Leach, Indiana

2014 UConn Classic All-Tournament Team:

- Morgan Leach, Indiana
- Megan Tallman, Indiana, 
- Awele Nwaeze, Indiana
- Immanuella Anagu, UConn
- Devon Maugle, UConn
- Tori Forest, UNH
- Makenna Lommori, CCSU