STORRS, Conn. – The UConn volleyball team split a pair of decisions on Friday afternoon at day one of the Dog Pound Challenge. The Huskies (3-2) rolled to a 3-0 sweep against Iona (2-3) in game one, before dropping a, 3-2, rubber match to LSU (5-0) later that night.
In front of a sold out crowd at Guyer Gym, UConn battled in one of its most entertaining matches so far this season. The Huskies and Tigers danced to a five set match (25-19, 12-25, 25-13, 18-25 and 10-15) that produced seven lead changes and a tie in the score 23 different times. Senior Kenya Cason put up one of the best performances in her career, turning in a game-high 18 kills for the home team. Redshirt-freshman Kayla Williams tallied an impressive 16 kills on the night, while Williams and junior Kennedy Arundel led the way with 10 digs.
The Huskies set the pace early in the match, climbing to a 25-19 victory behind a team .370 hitting percentage. Despite a late run by the Tiger’s making it a 22-18 game, UConn held strong and closed out the first set on a 3-1 run. Defensively, senior Tosin Adeniyi notched two blocks in the set, while Arundel picked up three digs.
The home team saw their biggest defeat of the night, 25-12, come in set two. The Tiger’s boasted a .650 hitting percentage in the set, while holding their opponents to match-low .650. Defense proved to be the deciding factor for the visitors who posted six total team blocks compared to the Huskies one.
The third set proved to be a nail bitter with the Huskies pulling off the slight 25-23 victory. Headlined by Cason and Williams’ five kills apiece, UConn bounced back to reclaim the lead, 2-1. Junior Emma Turner led all players with 11 assists, while three different players tallied three digs apiece. Williams picked up the only block and service ace in the set.
LSU slid back over into the win column with a late run in set four. After a set that saw the score knotted at 6-6, 14-14 and 17-17, the Tigers were able to scrap together a late set run to secure the 25-18 victory. Despite a 13-11 edge in kills, the Huskies couldn’t find an answer for LSU’s three service aces nor find a way around the Tigers middle blockers. Williams, Cason and freshman Ally Barrett accounted for the squads, 13 total kills.
The winner-take-all set was nothing short of a rubber match. UConn would never lead in the set but battled back on three different occasions to knot the score. Williams and Cason posted the only two kills of the fourth set, while Arundel shows up big with two serve aces to give her team a fight chances. Holding their opponents to a .200 hitting percentage just wasn’t enough as the Tiger’s were able to secure the 15-10 win.
UConn recorded its second consecutive straight set sweep (25-12, 25-11 and 25-16), following its victory against St. John;s last weekend. Williams boasted 11 kills and four services aces in the win. Turner was credited with 31 assists, while senior Cason turned in a season-high 12 dig performance. Additionally, the Huskies finished the game with a .342 hitting percentage.
Led by Williams’ set-high five kills, UConn cruised to a 25-12 victory. Thanks to a block by Turner and back-to-back kills by Adeniyi and Williams, the Huskies jumped out to an early 3-0 edge and a lead they would fail to relinquish. The strong offense attack was paced by the team’s match-high .417 hitting percentage.
After leading for the entirety of the first set, the home team’s offense continued to roll, taking down their opponents 25-11. Once again, the Huskies grabbed the lead from the start and led the Gaels from first serve until match point. William’s continued to play well, tallying four services aces in the set, while senior Danielle Cabel turned in a set-best four kills. Defensively, Cason racked up four digs.
For the first time all match, UConn saw itself trail in a set, 3-2. The Huskies were able to knot the score 6-6 before posting an 8-3 run and gaining a 14-9 advantage against their opponents. Cason provided both offense and defense for her team when they most needed it, tallying a set-high five kills, five digs and one service ace. Turner dished out 11 assists, aiding the team to a final 25-16 victory.
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