Match 1 Final Stats | Match 2 Final Stats
STORRS, Conn. – The University of Connecticut volleyball team swept the first day of the 2015 Dog Pound Challenge at Harry A. Gampel Pavilion on Friday. The Huskies ruined Bryant’s undefeated record with a four-set victory before taking down UMBC in a three-set sweep. With the wins, UConn moves to 3-2 in its 2015 campaign.
UConn will close out the tournament on Saturday at 1 p.m. against James Madison.
Match 1 vs. Bryant
Junior Jade Strawberry (Tallahassee, Fla.) led the offensive charge for the Huskies, posting a double-double with a career-high 15 kills and 14 digs. Senior Immanuella Anagu (Culver City, Calif.) added nine kills to go along with a .529 hitting percentage and a match-best eight block assists. Defensively, sophomore Kenya Cason (Columbus, Ohio) finished with a team-high 17 digs. Freshman Emma Turner (Winter Park, Fla.) notched a match-high 29 assists while junior Rebecca Rivera (Mississauga, Ontario) added 14 assists.
UConn and Bryant traded points early in the set before the Huskies took a 9-6 lead thanks to a service ace by Anagu. The squad kept the momentum going with powerful consecutive kills from Adeniyi, who quickly defended an over and smacked the ball right back at the Bulldogs for the kill. Bryant was forced to take a timeout after UConn points by Cmajdalka and Adeniyi, who stuffed the ball back at the defense to take a 21-16 advantage. However, the Bulldogs rallied late to tie the score at 24. Cmajdalka stepped up with a crucial kill but Bryant responded with two kills of its own, taking a 26-25 lead. The Bulldogs went on to claim the first set, 27-25.
The second set was an impressive offensive and defensive outing for the Huskies. Freshman Iman McGary (Rockford, Ill.) got things going with the first kill of the set as Adeniyi and Cmajdalka followed her up with a great block. Strawberry and Anagu tag teamed a block of their own. Cason’s serve was too much for the Bulldogs to handle, giving UConn a 7-4 lead and forcing Bryant to call for time. The Bulldogs quickly followed up with their second timeout of the set after Anagu and Thomas’ rejection. Seniors Anagu and Thomas got together again for a block and Strawberry put away the set, 25-14.
The Bulldogs kept the score close early in the third set before UConn pulled away, going on a 10-3 run to take a 19-13 edge. Rivera put a beautiful ball in the air, setting up Anagu’s kill to bring the score to 22-15. Cmajdalka gave UConn a set point opportunity after nailing the line before teaming up with Adeniyi for the block to close out the set, 25-18.
The Huskies jumped out to a prompt 15-8 lead, forcing Bryant to ask for a breather. Connecticut continued to attack following the break, especially after Anagu and Thomas added another block to stat sheet to push the Bulldogs to take their final timeout of the set trailing, 23-13. Once again, Strawberry delivered the final blow for the Huskies to take the set, 25-15.
Match 2 vs. UMBC
Strawberry, Cason and Anagu tallied seven kills apiece in the 3-0 victory over UMBC. Cason also recorded 10 digs and two service aces. Anagu had a .467 hitting percentage and added a match-best six block assists to her stats. Adeniyi chipped in six kills while Arundel posted a match-high 12 digs. Turner and Rivera combined for 27 of UConn’s 33 helpers, with 14 and 13 assists, respectively.
The Huskies completely dominated the first set, going full steam ahead with a 15-1 run to open up the match after five kills, two service aces and eight Bryant errors. The Bulldogs tried to stay in the game but back-to-back aces by Strawberry only increased the Huskies’ momentum and gave them a 22-5 advantage. Cason put the ball down hard and Cmajdalka served up another ace for the Huskies, who took the set, 25-8, after Anagu posted the set-winning kill.
The second set was much of the same as Connecticut overwhelmed the Bulldogs. Bryant realized it needed a timeout after the Huskies took an 11-5 edge due to kills from Strawberry and Cmajdalka. A block party followed in the wake of the call for time and it was not in favor of the Bulldogs. UConn put down monster blocks, which included touches from four different Husky players to go up 19-14. After a 22 minute delay in action, UConn rebound nicely to end the second set by a score of 25-16.
Bryant was singing a new tune to start the third set, taking its first lead of the entire match at 5-2. After four ties, UConn grabbed the lead and never looked back. It began with successfully blocks from Danielle Cabel (Bettendorf, Iowa) and Anagu before Arundel and Turner served fire aces that the Bulldogs couldn’t touch. A kill from Cason and Cmajdalka’s second ace put the Huskies up 22-13 and UMBC chose to reevaluate on the sideline with a timeout. Anagu unleashed her second-straight set-winning kill for the Huskies for a 25-14 closing score.