Sep 6, 2013
STORRS, Conn. -- The UConn women's volleyball team was able to capture the first two sets, but a furious rally by Northeastern allowed NU to come back and take a five-set victory (25-23, 25-21, 20-25, 17-25, 7-15) in the first round of the UConn Classic on Friday night at Gampel Pavilion.
With the outcome, both Huskies now sit at 2-3 on the season. UConn was led by 14 kills from Immanuella Anagu (Culver City, Calif.), one of four Connecticut players to eclipse double-digit kills. Anagu was also UConn's most efficient attacker, compiling a team-high .303 hitting percentage (14k-4e-33ta). She also had a strong day blocking, tallying two solo and six block assists.
Anagu was joined in double-figure kills by Karson Ratliff (Wake Forest, N.C.) who had 13, along with Erika Thomas (Ocoee, Fla.) and Devon Maugle (Plymouth Meetings, Pa.), who each notched 10. Maugle also added 17 digs for her second double-double of the season, and was one of five Huskies to register double-digit digs. Her 17 scoops tie a career-high, accomplished three other times.
Brianna Datti (Durham, N.H.) led the way in that category, scooping 22 to go along with a career-high five assists. Jade Strawberry (Tallahassee, Fla.) continued her strong start to her freshman campaign, tallying 18 digs along with nine kills and six block assists. Marissa Prinzbach also grabbed 14 digs to go with her match-high 45 assists. Sage Esposito (Milford, Conn.) added 12 digs, her first time in double-figures this season.
Kelly Bacon led the Northeastern attack by slamming down 21 kills and adding 16 digs for the double-double. Hanna Gibeau and Jamie Bredahl picked up 14 and 13 kills, respectively, and Bredahl also notched 30 assists. Natalia Skiba led a strong defensive effort for NU with 45 digs, as the Huskies held UConn to a .143 hitting percentage, due in part to 17 total team blocks.
The first set was even throughout, going as late as 19-19 with the score still tied. A Maugle ace and an Anagu kill allowed Connecticut to jump ahead by two, and two late kills from Strawberry helped it close out the set, 25-23.
Northeastern came out fast in the second, jumping ahead 7-3 with a kill from Bacon. UConn scored six of the next seven points, going ahead 9-8 following four straight kills, two each from Ratliff and Anagu. The score stayed even for the majority of the set, until two more from Ratliff and Anagu gave Connecicut a 19-17 lead and forced an NU timeout.
A 3-0 run late in the set allowed UConn to pull ahead for good, before a Strawberry spike before a Northeastern attacking error ended it with the blue and white Huskies on top, 25-21.
Connecticut came out fast in the third set smelling the sweep, taking an early 9-4 advantage. NU battled back to make it 11-9 with a Bredhal kill, leading to a UConn timeout. The Red and Black then went on an 11-5 run over the midpoint of the set, going up by six after an attack error from Anagu. A kill from rookie Camille Evans and a pair of NU errors got the Huskies within two, but three straight from Northeastern, capped by kills from Bredahl and Bacon, allowed it to close the set, 25-20.
Connecticut came out strong in the fourth set, taking leads of 7-2 and 11-5 in the early stages. However, another huge Northeastern run, this time a 16-4 stretch, gave the other Huskies a 21-14 lead, which UConn couldn't recover from. NU again used back-to-back kills, this time from Bacon and Ava Cramp, to close the set and even the match, 25-17.
The deciding set was all Northeastern from the get-go, as the Huskies used a 4-1 run early to go ahead 7-4 thanks to a Nichole Kurz kill. Bredhal's 12th kill of the contest made it 10-6 NU, and UConn couldn't get it any closer, falling 15-7 and dropping the five-set epic.
Prior to tonight, Connecticut had not lost in its first match of the UConn Classic since the 2007 tournament, falling to Hofstra on Sept. 14, 3-0. The Huskies move to 48-14 all-time in the tournament, and drop to 12-21 against their Husky counterparts from NU.
The UConn Classic will continue tomorrow, with the first contest, Pittsburgh vs. Northeastern, commencing at 10 a.m. Pitt swept Albany in the opener of the tournament earlier today. Connecticut will take the floor twice on Saturday, facing Albany at 12:30 p.m. before the closing game against Pitt, slated for a 7:30 p.m. start.
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