Raleigh, N.C. - The University of Connecticut volleyball team fell to Rice (25-21, 12-25, 18-25, 25-15, 8-15) and NC State (17-25, 19-25, 25-19, 19-25) on Saturday in the final day of the 2014 Courtyard Midtown Classic at Reynolds Coliseum. With the pair of losses, UConn falls to 3-3 on the season.
Senior tri-captain Devon Maugle (Plymouth Meeting, Pa.) was named to the All-Tournament team after recording 35 kills (2.92/set), a .200 hitting percentage, and six service aces throughout the weekend.
Freshman Kenya Cason (Columbus, Ohio) was a force against the Owls, notching a double-double (13 kills, 16 digs), while Erika Thomas (Ocoee, Fla.) led the team in hitting percentage (.316) for a second straight match. Immanuella Anagu (Culver City, Calif.) continued her terrific season at the net, registering six block assists while also chipping in 13 kills and a .300 hitting percentage. Rebecca Rivera (Mississauga, Ontario) and Sage Esposito (Milford, Conn.) split time as the setter, contributing 28 and 18 assists, respectively.
Senior tri-captain Brianna Datti (Durham, N.C.) continued to inch closer to the Husky record books as her 21 digs moved her into 11th all-time in career digs (981).
UConn came out strong in the first set, jumping ahead 7-2 and forcing Rice to call for time. Two Cason kills extended the Husky lead to six but Rice found an answer, cutting the Husky lead to four. UConn responded with kills from Maugle and Thomas as the Owls called for a second breather. The Huskies opened the lead to 21-14 before Rice scored six of the next seven points to pull within two. After a Husky timeout, two Thomas kills brought the Huskies to within one and Cason finished off the set, 25-21, with a monster kill.
Rice would not be denied in the second frame, moving ahead 16-9. UConn cut the lead to five but couldn't keep any momentum as the Owls scored 11 of the final 12 points to take the set, 25-12. Anagu paced the Huskies in the third, notching two quick kills as the teams traded points to 6-6. Two Husky attack errors opened the Owl lead to four and drew a UConn whistle. The Huskies fell behind by six but stormed back with three straight kills before Rice called for a breather. After the break, Rice pulled ahead by five and ultimately sealed the set after two UConn errors.
Maugle came up big for Connecticut in the fourth, tallying three kills as the two squads saw the score even out at 12-apiece. A Cason kill and back-to-back attack errors by the Owls gave UConn a three-point advantage and the Huskies kept up the offense barrage, stretching the lead to eight. Camille Evans (Chicago, Ill.) recorded her first kill of the season and Maugle finished the frame sending the game into a decisive fifth set.
The fifth set started off even with both teams earning six points. The Huskies took a 7-6 lead after a Maugle kill but Rice responded quickly with nine of the next 10 and took home the match victory, 3-2.
Anagu started off red-hot for UConn in the first set, recording four straight kills to give the Huskies the early 4-3 edge. NC State separated itself, pulling ahead 14-9, and causing the Connecticut bench to ask for time. The Wolfpack kept up the attack after the break, pushing the lead to 17-10 and drawing the Huskies' final timeout. The Huskies got within five, but couldn't move any closer, dropping the first set, 25-17.
UConn kept the NC State offense at bay in the early stages of the second set, earning a 10-9 margin. The Wolfpack then made a small run and reclaimed the lead, 15-11. The Huskies called for a breather after NC State opened its edge to 19-12. UConn grabbed a couple points back to pull within four, but the margin proved to be too much as the Wolfpack won the set, 25-19, to claim a 2-0 lead in the match.
In the third set, NC State moved out to an 8-3 lead but the Huskies charged back, pulling within two at 11-9 and drawing a Wolfpack timeout. The Huskies kept their foot on the gas, eventually taking a 12-11 lead. UConn closed the set in style, scoring six of the final eight points, and winning, 25-19.
The fourth set started tight with a 4-4 score. NC State opened a 10-7 lead but the Huskies had an answer, drawing to within one. The Wolfpack responded with its own 3-1 run as UConn called for time, down 13-9. NC State grabbed a 22-15 set advantage and finished the match with a combo block.
The Huskies will have the next six days off before returning to the court against Cornell on Sept. 12 as part of the 2014 Bucknell Tournament.