Oct. 25, 2013
STORRS, Conn. -- Three players posted double-digit kills as the UConn women’s volleyball team (11-12, 2-6 American) battled back from a two-set deficit for a five frame victory (25-27, 18-25, 25-23, 25-16, 15-13) over Cincinnati (0-22, 0-8 American) on Friday night at Gampel Pavilion.
Karson Ratliff (Wake Forest, N.C.) slammed down UConn’s final three kills in the fifth set as part of her team-high 14 on the day, while also adding three service aces and six digs. Imanuella Anagu (Culver City, Calif.) and Madeline Kuppe (Palo Alto, Calif.) each added 10 kills, with Anagu also turning aside four total blocks. Erika Thomas (Ocoee, Fla.) also had a big day for UConn, totaling nine kills with a .389 attack percentage and a career-high 12 total blocks, the highest for any Husky this year.
Defensively, UConn got 17 and 14 digs, respectively, from Brianna Datti (Durham, N.H.) and Sage Esposito (Milford, Conn.) The Huskies were also bolstered by the return of captain Devon Maugle (Plymouth Meeting, Pa.), who scooped 11 digs with three assists. Marissa Prinzbach (Cincinnati, Ohio) passed out 42 assists and grabbed eight digs, while Amy Christensen (Ashburn, Va.) and Sophia Mar (Oakland, Calif.) combined to contribute seven digs. Rookies Camille Evans (Chicago, Ill.) and Hayley Cmajdalka (College Station, Texas) rounded out the scoresheet for Connecticut, with Evans posting five kills and two block assists while Cmajdalka had seven total blocks.
Cincinnati was led in the setback by a 22-kill, 11-dig double-double from Morgan Allred, and also got 15 kills from Ciara Hill. Shelby Green scooped 29 digs to lead the Bearcats, and Kristin Conor paced the offense with 48 assists.
The first set opened even, with the teams trading points until a Thomas and Evans combo block before a Kuppe kill put the Huskies ahead 8-6. A Ratliff kill made it 13-9 to force a UC timeout, before the Bearcats pulled even at 16-all. The Huskies took a timeout with the scored tied at 19, then scored the next three points to retake the advantage in the set. Another Ratliff kill put Connecticut up 23-21, but UC battled back to make it 24-24 and force another UConn stoppage. The Bearcats scored three four after the breather, coming back to win the opening set 27-25.
UConn jumped out to an early lead in the second set, with a Prinzbach service ace putting the Huskies up 7-4. UC again battled back to tying the set before going up 13-12 and forcing a UConn timeout. The Bearcats stretched their lead to three at 19-16, leading to another Husky stoppage. UC pushed its lead to six following the break, then scored the final two points of the frame to win it, 25-18.
The third set began airtight, with UConn taking a 12-10 advantage after a Ratliff ace which led to a Cincinnati timeout. The Bearcats answered with a 5-1 run to go up by two, but UConn came back with a block and a Kuppe kill to pull even. UConn called timeout with the scored tied at 20, and burned another after falling behind 22-21. A block from Cmajdalka and Thomas evened the frame at 23, prompting a Cincinnati timeout before another block and a Ratliff kill sealed the set for the Huskies, 25-23.
Three straight blocks allowed UConn to take a 5-1 lead in the early stages of the fourth set, and a Thomas ace made it 9-3 Huskies before a Cincinnati timeout. Anagu slammed down a pair of kills to stretch the UConn lead to double digits for the first time, before UConn called timeout with a 15-7 lead. A pair of Cmajdalka and Thomas combo blocks allowed UConn to stretch its lead to 12, before Kuppe finished it off for the Huskies, 25-18, and forced a fifth.
Cincinnati scored the first three points of the deciding set, before kills for Anagu and Thomas got UConn on the board. Cmajdalka and Thomas teamed up for a block to give the Huskies their first lead of the set at 6-5, but UC battled back to go up 8-6 before sides changed. Connecticut took another stoppage after falling behind 11-9, and tied the set at 13 with a Ratliff kill. Another Ratliff tally closed the match for the Huskies, as they won the fifth set, 15-13, and the match, 3-2.
Up next, UConn hosts Louisville on Sunday afternoon. The 1 p.m. match will be broadcast live on ESPNU, marking the first nationally televised match in program history.