Greenville, N.C. - Junior middle blocker Immanuella Anagu (Culver City, Calif.) continued her strong week as the University of Connecticut volleyball team picked up a 3-1 victory over East Carolina on Friday night at Minges Coliseum. With the victory, UConn improves to 9-4 (2-0, The American), while ECU falls to 6-3 (0-1, The American).
It marks the first time UConn has opened 2-0 in conference play since 2004. Friday’s contest was also the first-ever meeting between the two programs.
Anagu’s 14 kills were a team-high and the junior also hit .346 on the night. Jade Strawberry (Tallahassee, Fla.) delivered a 10-kill, six-dig effort and Tosin Adeniyi (Springfield, Ill.) hit .500 with six kills in the winning effort, while junior captain Erika Thomas (Ocoee, Fla.) notched nine kills and moved into eighth place on UConn’s all-time blocks list with 284. Sage Esposito (Milford, Conn.) led the Huskies with 24 assists while fellow setter Rebecca Rivera dished out 20 helpers. Freshman Kenya Cason (Columbus, Ohio) turned in a double-double (13 kills, 17 digs), while Brianna Datti (Durham, N.H.) anchored the Husky defense with 22 digs.
Neither team could pull ahead in the first 10 points of the first set. With the score deadlocked at five, the Huskies erupted for a 6-to-0 run fueled by four pirate errors. Back-to-back kills from Strawberry pushed UConn out 15-7 and the visitors continued to attack on offense, running out to a 19-9 edge. ECU grabbed five quick points and forced a UConn stoppage but the Huskies found an answer, sealing the set, 25-18, when an ECU attack sailed out-of-bounds.
The Huskies rode momentum into the second frame, staking themselves to an early 6-3 lead. The Pirates pulled even at nine thanks to a block assist and claimed their first lead of the set after a 5-to-0 run. The Huskies pulled within one after a Thomas kill but the home team would not be slowed, tallying six of the final seven points to take the set, 25-19.
After trailing 6-5 in the third, the Huskies scored four straight points, highlighted by a block assist from Adeniyi and Thomas. The Huskies maintained a three-point cushion at 15-12 before against exploding for a 4-to-0 run courtesy of kills from three different Huskies. The home team pulled within six after a Husky service error but Cason rose to the occasion, slamming down a monster kill to give UConn a 25-19 set win.
The Huskies used an early 6-to-0 run in the fourth set to establish an 11-5 lead and eventually opened a 10-point lead after consecutive kills from Anagu. East Carolina stormed back to make the score 20-15 but a kill from Strawberry and an attack error by the Pirates finished off the set, 25-19, and gave UConn the match victory.
Next up, the Huskies travel to Florida for a pair of conference games against USF and UCF. First serve vs. the Bulls is set for Oct. 3 at 7 p.m.