Sept. 21, 2013
HANOVER, N.H. – The UConn women’s volleyball team (8-6, 0-0 American) battled back from a 2-1 deficit to take a five-set victory (18-25, 30-28, 20-25, 25-18, 15-13) over Rhode Island (6-7, 0-0 A-10) on Saturday evening in its final match of the Dartmouth Duel at Leede Arena. With the win, the Huskies finish 3-1 in the tournament. Devon Maugle and Erika Thomas respresented the second place Huskies on the All-Tournament Team.
UConn was led by monster performances from sophomores Immanuella Anagu (Culver City, Calif.) and Thomas (Ocoee, Fla.), who posted 14 and 17 kills and seven and five total blocks, respectively. Thomas’ 17 kills mark a new career-high, previously set yesterday with 13 against UNH. Thomas also hit .406 in the win.
The Huskies also got a 52-assist, 11-dig double-double from Marissa Prinzbach (Cincinnati, Ohio), who eclipsed 50 assists for the second time this season. Karson Ratliff (Wake Forest, N.C.) joined Anagu as the two Huskies with double digit kills, tallying 12. Ratliff finished in double digits in each contest at the Dartmouth Duel.
Rookies Jade Strawberry (Tallahassee, Fla.) and Camille Evans (Chicago, Ill.) combined for 14 kills for UConn, and Strawberry added 17 digs and three total blocks. Maugle (Plymouth Meetings, Pa.) added five kills and 10 digs, and Brianna Datti and Sage Esposito paced UConn defensively, finishing with 20 and 11 kills, respectively.
Franki Darnold led URI with 23 kills, and Catie Steffen and Cate Seman combined for 25. Callan Kinnan dished out 56 assists, and Darnold and Seman each posted 17 digs in the setback.
A Thomas kill gave UConn its first lead in the opening set, and a 3-0 run was capped by a Maugle kill to give the Huskies an 8-5 advantage. The Rams responded with four straight to go up by a point, and grabbed a 16-11 advantage with a Kinnan kill. UConn couldn’t close the gap the remainder of the set, and Rhode Island took a 1-0 match lead with a 25-18 victory.
The second set opened close, with each team making runs to take early advantages. Back-to-back Anagu kills helped the Huskies take a 5-4 lead, but a 5-0 Rams run gave them a 9-6 edge. UConn battled back and tied it at 9-all, then finally broke through to retake the lead at 13-12.
Neither team built an advantage of more than one through the bulk of the set, until a solo block from Anagu put the Huskies up 19-17 to force a Rhody timeout. The Rams tied it at 19 after the stop, but a kill from Anagu put the Huskies back on top, but the Rams battled back to tie it again and then go ahead, 25-24. Back-to-back Maugle kills got UConn back on top, and the teams traded leads well past 25 before Anagu finally sealed it for Connecticut, 30-28.
The third set was another even one from the jump, with ties through most of the early stages until Rhode Island jumped ahead 15-11, leading to a UConn timeout. A block from Anagu and Ratliff closed the gap to three at 20-17, and a Maugle kill made it 21-19. The Huskies couldn’t get it any closer, and the Rams won the set with a Layne Self kill, 25-20.
The Huskies got out fast in the fourth set, taking an 8-3 lead with back-to-back Thomas kills before a Rhode Island timeout. UConn kept its lead rolling through the middle of the set, with Rhode Island closing within one before a Thomas block put UConn back up 16-14. That sparked a 4-0 run get the Huskies back up by five, leading to another URI stoppage. That did little stop the Connecticut momentum, as it went up by as many as seven before closing the set with an Evans kill, 25-18.
UConn opened up the fifth set with a 2-0 lead, forcing a quick Rhode Island timeout. The Rams responded by tying the set, and the teams continued to trade leads in the early stages. A Seman kill sparked a 4-0 run for URI, and they jumped ahead 10-7. The Huskies answered and battled back to take a 13-11 lead, going up with an Esposito ace and an Evans kill. After a Strawberry kill, Anagu sealed it for the Huskies with a solo block, giving them a 15-13 fifth set and match victory.
Up next, UConn heads home to begin its first ever American Athletic Conference league slate. The Huskies welcome the Mustangs of SMU on Friday, Sept. 27 at 7 p.m.
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