Sept. 20, 2013
HANOVER, N.H. - Behind a strong offensive performance that featured 57 kills, nine service aces and a .311 hitting percentage, the UConn women's volleyball team (6-5, 0-0 American) defeated New Hampshire (5-7, 0-0 America East) in four sets (25-16, 21-25, 25-17, 25-11) on Friday afternoon at Leede Arena. The contest was UConn's first of the 2013 Dartmouth Duel.
The Huskies received double-double performances from Devon Maugle (Plymouth Meetings, Pa.) and Marissa Prinzbach (Cincinnati, Ohio) in the win, giving the Huskies a total of 11 double-doubles on the year. Maugle posted 11 kills to go along with 12 digs, while Prinzbach tallied 43 assists and scooped 11 digs.
UConn also got huge offensive performances from Karson Ratliff (Wake Forest, N.C.) and Erika Thomas (Ocoee, Fla.), who slammed down 18 and 13 kills, respectively. Ratliff continued her strong form of late by hitting at a .405 clip, registering just three errors on 37 total attacks. Thomas' performance came in a career day for the sophomore, as her 13 kills and .545 hitting percentage both mark new personal bests. She also added a match-high seven total blocks in the win, including three solo.
Defensively, UConn was paced by Sage Esposito (Milford, Conn.), who led the way with 13 digs. Jade Strawberry (Tallahassee, Fla.) and Brianna Datti (Durham, N.H.) added eight and seven apiece, respectively, and Datti also secured new career-highs with seven assists and six service aces. The six aces are the most for any single player in The American this season.
New Hampshire was led by Demi Muses and Morgan Thatcher, who each had nine kills. Madison Lightfoot secured 16 digs and Taylor Dunklau had 30 assists for the Wildcats, who were held to just .118 hitting by the Huskies. In the decisive fourth set, UConn held UNH to -.273 on the attack.
Connecticut came out fast in the first set, taking an 8-3 lead with a kill from Immanuella Anagu (Culver City, Calif.) before a UNH timeout. The Huskies kept up their pressure, and three straight kills from Thomas got them out to a 17-7 lead before another timeout. A Destiny Tolliver kill got the Wildcats within six at 20-14, but UConn closed the set on a 5-2 run after using a timeout and won the set, 25-16, thanks to a Thomas and Prinzbach block.
The second set started inversely to the first, as New Hampshire opened up a 7-4 lead with a Tori Forrest kill to force a UConn timeout. The Huskies were unable to close the gap, and used another timeout after a Maugle error made it 13-9 Wildcats. With UConn down 16-10, a Ratliff kill and a pair of Datti aces sparked a 7-1 run, forcing a UNH timeout before Maugle slammed down a kill to tie the set at 17-all. The set saw four more ties in the final stages, but a Thatcher kill sparked a 4-0 run for UNH to close the set and seal it, 25-21.
The third set began fairly evenly, with a Thomas service error leaving the Huskies up just a point at 6-5. UConn then rolled off a 4-1 run, forcing a UNH timeout after a Ratliff kill made it 10-6. Muses cut it to three with a kill after the stoppage, but the Huskies roared back with a 7-2, going up 17-9 after kills from Thomas and Maugle and forcing another Wildcat timeout. UNH closed the gap to six, but UConn scored four of the final six points in the set and won it 25-17 with another Maugle kill.
Smelling the victory up two sets to one, the Huskies came out on fire in the fourth set, leading all the way. After a Ratliff kill made it 8-4 Huskies, a Strawberry ace sparked an 8-2 run that gave the Huskies an 18-9 advantage. Ratliff and Thomas stuffed an Abby Brinkman attack to put the Huskies up 21-10, forcing a UNH timeout. The stoppage was to no avail, as UConn scored four of five to wrap it up, with the contest fittingly ending with another Thomas kill.
UConn is right back in action tonight when it battles the host of the Dartmouth Duel. The Huskies and Big Green will square off at 7:30 p.m.