Sept. 20, 2013
HANOVER, N.H. – The UConn women’s volleyball team (7-5, 0-0 American) got off to a fast start and never looked back, defeating host Dartmouth (6-3, 0-0 Ivy) in straight sets (25-14, 25-11, 25-23) at the Dartmouth Duel on Friday night at Leede Arena.
UConn, which has now won four of its last five, was led by a 12-kill, 10-dig double-double from junior captain Devon Maugle (Plymouth Meetings, Pa.). It was Maugle’s second double-double in as many games at the Dartmouth Duel. Karson Ratliff (Wake Forest, N.C.) also hit double figures in kills, tallying 10. The junior duo both hit over .300 in the win, as UConn hit .327 as a team.
Setter Marissa Prinzbach (Cincinnati, Ohio) anchored the UConn attack with 30 assists, also collecting five kills on eight swings without an error. Jade Strawberry (Tallahassee, Fla.) added four kills, seven digs and two block assists, while Immanuella Anagu (Culver City, Calif.) chipped in six kills and a pair of block assists. Erika Thomas (Ocoee, Fla.) also had two block assists, along with a solo block and three kills.
Junior captain Brianna Datti (Durham, N.H.) tied for the match-high with 16 digs, while classmate Sage Esposito (Milford, Conn.) scooped six to round out UConn’s defensive leaders. Dartmouth was led by eight kills from Molly Kornfeind, while Holly Harper notched 16 digs. As a team, the Big Green were held to an attack percentage of just .112.
The Huskies used a balanced attack to get going early in the first set. All six of UConn’s non-libero starters registered a kill after a Ratliff slam gave Connecticut an 11-7 lead, forcing a Dartmouth timeout. A Prinzbach ace got the lead to five, before a pair of Strawberry kills made it 15-8 and led to another Big Green stoppage.
UConn continued its strong opening set, going up by as many as 10 when a Maugle kill made it 19-9. Three straight from the Big Green forced a UConn timeout, but the Huskies responded with five of the final seven points of the set to take it 25-14.
Connecticut began the second set on a 5-0 run, as an Esposito ace forced an early Dartmouth timeout. A pair of Anagu kills got the lead to 8-2, before a Strawberry ace stretched it to eight. Back-to-back attack errors by the Big Green led to them taking another timeout, down 14-5 in the frame. A Ratliff kill made it 16-6, sparking a 4-1 run that put the Huskies on top 19-7. UConn kept its lead at 12 or more for the rest of the set, and closed it at 25-11 with Ratliff’s sixth kill of the match.
The third set started close, with ties at each of the first six points. The Big Green finally took a lead of more than one and went up 8-6 with a Kornfeind block, forcing a UConn timeout. UConn cut the lead back to one, but Dartmouth pushed it up to four at 11-7. The Huskies used another timeout after going down 13-9, and then responded with three straight to make it 13-12 and cause the Big Green to burn one.
UConn was able to pull even at 13-all, but Dartmouth scored three straight to make it 16-13. The Huskies returned the favor with another 3-0 run to tie the set again at 16, before UConn finally pulled ahead thanks to consecutive Dartmouth errors making it 19-17. That breathing room was all the Huskies needed, as they closed the set strong and won it, 25-23, after a Dartmouth attack error.
The Huskies continue their run in the Dartmouth Duel tomorrow afternoon when they take on the Golden Gophers of No. 9 Minnesota. The 12 p.m. match could serve as a de facto tournament championship game, as the Huskies and Gophers are the lone teams currently sitting at 2-0 in the tournament.
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