DALLAS – The University of Connecticut volleyball team dropped a 3-0 decision (13-25, 26-28, 23-25) to SMU in an American Athletic Conference match on Sunday afternoon. With the setback, the Huskies fall to 7-10 (1-5, The American) as SMU improves to 15-3 (5-1, The American).
Junior Jade Strawberry (Tallahassee, Fla.) notched her fourth double-double of the season with 14 kills and 14 digs. Sophomore Kenya Cason (Columbus, Ohio) added 12 digs and seven kills while classmate Tosin Adeniyi (Springfield, Ill.) had eight kills. Seniors Immanuella Anagu (Culver City, Calif.) and Erika Thomas (Ocoee, Fla.) posted four blocks apiece. Freshman Kennedy Arundel (Chicago, Ill.) tallied 14 digs. Junior Rebecca Rivera (Mississauga, Ontario) and freshman Emma Turner (Winter Park, Fla.) dished 20 and 17 assists, respectively.
SMU jumped out to a 10-5 lead to begin the first set and force UConn to call for time. Out of the break, the Huskies strung together four straight points, due in part to three consecutive blocks by Anagu and Thomas to pull within one. The Mustangs tallied five straight points to take a 15-9 advantage as the Huskies used another timeout. SMU quickly increased its lead to 20-10. Strawberry added two kills to try to bring UConn closer but the Huskies fell, 13-25.
The Huskies opened the second set with a 3-1 edge on kills from Strawberry and Anagu. UConn kept the momentum going, taking an 11-6 lead to make the Mustangs head to the bench. Straight kills from Adeniyi and Thomas gave UConn a 17-11 upper hand and SMU called for its second timeout. The Mustangs began to rally out of the intermission, posting four consecutive points. Although the Huskies still led, 17-15, they decided to use a timeout. A kill by SMU and two UConn errors forced the Huskies to ask for time to regroup with the scored tied at 19. Both teams kept things close until a kill from Cason gave UConn a 24-22 lead and the chance to end the set. However, the Mustangs added three points to go ahead, 25-24. Strawberry’s kill locked the score at 25 but a ball handling error gave SMU a one-point lead. Strawberry once again tied the score, 26-26, but the Huskies dropped the set, 28-26.
UConn and SMU kept things close to start with the Huskies holding on to a 3-2 lead. Both teams continued trading points until SMU took a 15-12 advantage. The Huskies weren’t deterred as Cason delivered two kills and junior Hayley Cmajdalka (College Station, Texas) added the spike to tie the set at 15. Connecticut tried to keep up as the Mustangs jumped out to a 19-17 edge and the Huskies called for time. SMU scored the next two points to force UConn back to the bench. A kill from Strawberry and attack error by the Mustangs brought the Huskies within two but they still trailed, 19-21. Kills by Strawberry and Cabel got UConn within one as SMU led 22-21 but needed to use a timeout. Turner had a perfectly timed service ace while the Mustangs responded with an attack error for the Huskies to go up 23-22. SMU tied the score once again before taking the set, 25-23.
UConn returns home to Storrs for a mid-week outing when it hosts Temple on Wednesday, Oct. 14 at 5 p.m.