TULSA, Okla. – The University of Connecticut volleyball team fell in five sets (25-21, 14-25, 20-25, 25-26, 14-16) to American Athletic Conference rival Tulsa on Friday night. With the loss, the Huskies drop to 7-9 (1-4, The American) while Tulsa moves to 8-9 (3-2, The American).
Sophomore Kenya Cason (Columbus, Ohio) posted her third straight double-double with 15 digs and 10 kills. Senior captain Erika Thomas (Ocoee, Fla) had a team-high 16 kills along with four digs and three blocks. Sophomore Tosin Adeniyi (Springfield, Ill.) tallied nine kills on 14 swings for a .643 hitting percentage. Junior Rebecca Rivera (Mississauga, Ontario) and freshman Emma Turner (Winter Park, Fla.) added 22 helpers each. Classmate Kennedy Arundel (Chicago, Ill.) earned a team-best 31 digs while junior Jade Strawberry (Tallahassee, Fla.) finished with 15 digs on the night.
Senior Immanuella Anagu (Culver City, Calif.) had six blocks against the Golden Hurricane, bringing her career total to 383 blocks to move ahead of Jenelle Koester ’98. Anagu now ranks fourth among UConn’s all-time career blocks leaders.
Rivera started out the first set with a service ace before the squads began exchanging points. Tulsa took an 11-7 advantage but blocks by Adeniyi and sophomore Danielle Cabel (Bettendorf, Iowa) along with back-to-back attack errors on the Golden Hurricane helped UConn tie the score at 13. The two teams traded the next six points, keeping things knotted at 19-19. The Huskies strung together three points thanks to a kill from Anagu and ace by Cason. A spike by Thomas forced Tulsa to use a timeout. Out of the break, Thomas and Adeniyi delivered the block before Thomas’ kill gave the Huskies the first set, 25-21.
The Golden Hurricane jumped out 9-3 in the second set to send the Huskies to the bench to regroup. A kill from Turner brought UConn within four but Tulsa opened things up with consecutive kills for a 14-6 lead as the Huskies called for time. Connecticut tried to make up the difference but dropped the second set, 14-25.
The third set featured eight ties but only one lead change. Both teams swapped points to start out the set until Tulsa took a 9-6 edge. Two-straight kills from Anagu brought the Huskies within one but the Golden Hurricane pulled away for a 15-12 advantage. UConn managed to lock the score at 15 after back-to-back aces from Strawberry. The momentum didn’t last long for the Huskies, who asked for a breather as Tulsa went up 18-15. Two errors and a Golden Hurricane ace made UConn use another timeout as it trailed 16-21. The Huskies were able to pull within four but fell 20-25 in the set.
Tulsa went on a 5-1 run to open the fourth set, forcing UConn to spend a timeout. Out of the intermission, Adeniyi posted two consecutive kills to tie the score at 7. The two squads went back-and-forth before the Huskies turned the tables, tallying three-straight points for an 18-15 lead and Tulsa timeout. Connecticut kept the momentum going as spikes by Cabel and Cason put the Huskies ahead 20-16 and the Golden Hurricane used their second timeout. The last five points were all UConn, thanks to kills from Thomas, Strawberry and Anagu coupled with two Tulsa errors to clinch the set, 25-16.
The deciding set started out in favor of the home team as Tulsa went ahead 9-6 and UConn asked for time. Thomas caught the line twice to lock the tally at 9-9, making the Golden Hurricane spend a timeout of their own. Tulsa got out to a 13-11 edge but the Huskies rallied after spike by Cason along with blocks from Cabel and Anagu tied the score at 14. Unfortunately, UConn error and Tulsa kill gave the Golden Hurricane the set, 16-14.
The Huskies will travel to Dallas to take on SMU on Sunday at 1 p.m.
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