Sept. 27, 2013
STORRS, Conn. -- Playing without its top two attackers, the UConn women’s volleyball team (8-7, 0-1 American) was swept by SMU (9-5, 1-0 American) in the conference opener for both teams, 25-21, 25-20, 25-15, on Friday night at Gampel Pavilion.
With both Devon Maugle and Karson Ratliff out of the lineup for the Huskies, Erika Thomas (Ocoee, Fla.) led the way with nine kills, while Immanuella Anagu (Culver City, Calif.) and Jade Strawberry (Tallahassee, Fla.) added seven and six, respectively. Anagu also added six total blocks, while Thomas notched four.
Rookie Hayley Cmajdalka (College Station, Texas) got her first career start for UConn and totaled five kills and six block assists. Marissa Prizbach (Cincinnati, Ohio) led the Huskies with 32 assists, while Sage Esposito (Milford, Conn.) had a team-high 10 digs. Brianna Datti (Durham, N.H.) added nine digs, and Sophia Mar (Oakland, Calif.) scooped six. Camille Evans (Chicago, Ill.) and Madeline Kuppe (Palo Alto, Calif.) combined for six kills to round out the UConn attack.
SMU was led in its victory by a 15-kill performance from reigning conference player of the week Caroline Young, and also got nine kills from Cailin Bula. Avery Acker posted a 37-assist, 12-dig double-double for the Mustangs.
UConn took an early 3-1 lead with some strong blocking, scoring each of its first three points with combo blocks. SMU answered with a 4-1 run to go ahead by three, forcing an early Husky timeout. Back-to-back services aces got the Mustang lead to 14-9, and after another UConn timeout SMU went up by as many as eight.
A kill from Anagu got the Huskies within four at 19-15, and an SMU error slimmed the margin to three and caused a Mustang timeout. UConn stayed within striking distance for the rest of the set, but SMU was able to close it out and take a 1-0 match lead, 25-21.
The Huskies again jumped out to an early lead in the second set, going up 3-1 with a Thomas kill. A pair of Evans kills got the Huskies lead to 8-5, but four straight from the Mustangs put them on top and forced a UConn stoppage. After UConn pulled even, another SMU run put it up 16-12 and led to the second Husky timeout of the set.
UConn couldn’t get its footing for the remainder of the set, and the Mustangs led by more than five throughout. With UConn facing set point, the Huskies rattled off four in a row to pull within 24-20, before SMU closed it out with a Bula kill, 25-20.
The Mustangs took an early 5-1 lead in the third set, forcing a UConn timeout. The Huskies again struggled to put together any consistent offense, and the Mustangs got their early set lead to as many as seven at 13-6. After a Kuppe kill cut the deficit to five, SMU went on a 7-2 run to go up 20-10. The Mustangs wouldn’t let up the rest of the set, taking it 25-15 to seal the sweep.
Up next, the Huskies roll on in conference play when they welcome the Houston Cougars to Storrs. The meeting will be the first between the two schools, and will begin on Sunday afternoon at 2 p.m.
to Oct. 6.