Storrs, Conn. – Despite a nine-kill, five-block performance from freshman Tosin Adeniyi (Springfield, Ill.), the University of Connecticut volleyball team fell, 3-1 (16-25, 25-15, 21-25, 15-25), to Cincinnati on Sunday afternoon in an American Athletic Conference showdown at Gampel Pavilion. With the loss, UConn now stands at 9-8 (2-4, The American), while the Bearcats improve to 12-6 (4-2, The American).
Junior middle blocker Immanuella Anagu (Culver City, Calif.) posted a team-best 13 kills and also hit .346 on the afternoon. Senior captain Devon Maugle (Plymouth Meetings, Pa.) notched nine kills and also chipped in one of two Connecticut service aces. Sage Esposito (Milford, Conn.), who earned the start, narrowly missed a double-double, dishing out 20 assists and scooping nine digs. Brianna Datti (Durham, N.H.) recorded a team-high 15 digs in the setback.
Captain Erika Thomas (Ocoee, Fla.) became just the seventh Husky player to record 300 career blocks after notching three against the Bearcats.
The first set saw even, point-for-point volleyball, until the Bearcats rattled off a five-point run to force an UConn timeout with the score 15-9 in favor of the visitors. A pair of UConn errors forced the Huskies to use their second timeout, down 18-10. A UConn kill by Hayley Cmajdalka brought the Huskies to within eight after a mini-Bearcat run and forced a visitor whistle but Cincinnati scored three straight points after the breather to win the set, 25-16.
The Huskies surged out to a 10-5 lead to begin the second set, highlighted by two kills and a service ace by Maugle. UConn continued their second set dominance, extending their lead to 10 after a Thomas slam. The Huskies kept their foot on the gas, sealing the set, 25-15, on a Camille Evans (Chicago, Ill). Kill. Adeniyi lead the Huskies with three kills in the frame.
The third set saw close, back-and-forth ball until Cincinnati was able to take a slim 10-7 edge. Two kills by Anagu evened the score up at 10. Both teams continued to trade points in a close set, until a five point run by the Bearcats pushed the score to 20-16. Three more clutch kills by Anagu brought the Huskies within two, but the Bearcats hung onto win the third set, 25-21.
UConn came out firing in the fourth set, storming out to an 8-3 lead, helped by three visitor attack errors, and forced Cincinnati to use their first time out of the stanza. The Bearcats battled back to even the score at 10, and eventually took the lead, 17-13, after a 4-to-2 run, leading to an UConn stoppage. The visitors scored six of the final seven points to seal the set, 25-15, and win the match.
Cincinnati now stands at 10-3 all-time against UConn, despite dropping a home-and home against the Huskies in 2013.
Next up, UConn hits the road for a pair of American Athletic Conference weekend matches at Tulane and Houston.
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