STORRS, Conn. – Four different players recorded double-digit kills for the UConn volleyball team on Wednesday, which dropped a tightly-contested five set match to Temple in Gampel Pavilion – snapping a four-match winning streak.
The Huskies (11-3, 2-1 American) had a 12-8 lead in the fifth set, before the Owls charged back and ended the match on an 11-5 run. However, it was only after UConn fought back in the third and fourth sets that the match reached the 19-17 finale in the fifth.
“Putting ourselves in a 2-0 position is not ideal; but we responded in the third and fourth sets,” said head coach Kris Grunwald. “The fifth set is a coin toss. One team gets momentum and it comes down to somebody making a play.”
A kill by junior Kenya Cason made it 12-8 in the final set, as Temple called timeout. The Owls tied it at 12, but the Huskies stayed on the attack – earning three match point opportunities late, but unable to seal the victory.
“We played with a lot of energy, but we also want to play with execution. It was a high-intensity match, but our execution fell apart at the end of the fifth game,” said Grunwald.
Redshirt freshman Kayla Williams recorded a double-double of 14 kills and 13 digs to lead the way, while Cason and senior Camille Evans each had 13 kills. Senior Rebecca Rivera led with 36 assists and junior Tosin Adeniyi had five blocks.
Dropping the first two sets by scores of 25-18 and 26-24, the Huskies found themselves in a five-set situation for only the second time this season. After the intermission, UConn responded.
“It wasn’t anything tactically that we talked about; we made one personnel change. Our team always talks about playing at a high level consistently and we played some ball,” said Grunwald.
UConn jumped out to a 7-0 lead in the third set and kept the Owls off-balance. The Huskies had a .303 hitting percentage in that set to Temple’s .139, as Cason led with five kills. Tied 15-15 in the fourth, UConn went on a 6-2 run to get some separation for the set win.
In the final points of the match, the Huskies and Owls went back and forth until Cason went for an attack and was blocked on Temple’s match point.
“Temple played a really good match. We just didn’t finish when we had the opportunity,” said Grunwald.
The Huskies return to conference play on Friday night at Memphis. First serve is at 8 p.m. (ET).
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