HOUSTON – Despite a career-high eight-block performance from freshman middle blocker Tosin Adeniyi (Springfield, Ill.), the University of Connecticut volleyball team fell, 3-2 (21-25, 25-22, 19-25, 25-20, 10-15), to Houston on Sunday afternoon. The Huskies fall to 9-10 (2-6, The American), while Houston pulls up to .500 at 10-10 (2-6, The American).
Adeniyi recorded eight block assists to go along with five kills on 12 swings. Captain Devon Maugle (Plymouth Meeting, Pa.) slammed a team-high 14 kills and hit .158 in the setback, while junior Immanuella Anagu (Culver City, Calif.) posted an efficient 12 kills on 18 attacks attempts (.667). Seniors Amy Christensen and Brianna Datti each scooped 14 digs and Sage Esposito dished out a team-high 27 assists.
Overall, UConn hit .175 on the afternoon, including an impressive .271 mark in the fourth set.
The Cougars started off hot in the opening set, jumping ahead of UConn, 7-1. A Maugle kill and two Houston attack errors brought the Huskies to within four before Jade Strawberry and Anagu delivered back-to-back kills to pull the visitors closer at 11-9. The teams traded points until 17-17 when Houston scored five of seven to stake itself to a 23-19 lead. The Huskies moved within three but couldn’t close the gap, falling, 25-21.
Connecticut found an answer in the second, grabbing a two-point edge, 11-9, after an Esposito service ace. Houston clawed to within one but Anagu responded with consecutive kills to push the Husky advantage to three. The Cougars tied things up at 21-all but a kill from Camille Evans and a service ace from Rebecca Rivera sealed the win, 25-22.
The home team scored the first six points of the third set, before UConn was able to rattle off six of 10 to move within four. Back-to-Back Evans kills kept the gap at four but Houston exploded for a four-point run and claimed a 20-10 lead. Kills from Adeniyi and Maugle helped the Huskies draw closer but the lead proved too much as Houston hung on, 25-19.
UConn jumped out 3-0 in the fourth set and extended its lead to 9-5 after an Adeniyi slam. Consecutive kills from Strawberry gave UConn a set-high seven point lead and Connecticut was able to finish off the frame, 25-20 following a Cougar attack errors.
The Cougars again came out firing, scoring the first three of the decisive fifth set but Connecticut battled back, cutting the lead to 6-4 after an Evans/Adeniyi combo block. The teams traded points until UConn called for a breather down, 10-7. After the break, Houston pushed its lead to 13-9 and grabbed the match win after a kill from Kadi Kullerkan.
The Huskies return home to Gampel Pavilion for a pair of weekend conference games against Tulsa and SMU.