STORRS, Conn. – Despite a double-double (12 kills, 17 digs) performance from senior tri-captain Devon Maugle (Plymouth Meeting, Pa.), the University of Connecticut volleyball team dropped a four-set match to SMU (27-25, 14-15, 21-25, 26-25) on Sunday afternoon at Harry A. Gampel Pavilion. UConn falls to 9-12 (2-8, The American), while the Mustangs improve to 17-5 (6-4, The American).
Maugle, who now boasts a team-high 10 double-doubles this season, was joined in double-digit kills by sophomore outside hitter Jade Strawberry (10), who also notched 12 digs and four total blocks in the setback. Junior middle blocker Immanuella Anagu (Culver City, Calif.) was a force at the net, registering two solo blocks and four block assists. Freshman Tosin Adeniyi (Sprinfield, Ill). Hit a team-best .286 and also recorded four combo blocks, while senior tri-captain Brianna Datti (Durham, N.H.) scooped a team-best 20 digs.
For the Mustangs, Cailin Bula posted a game-high 16 digs to go along with a stellar .467 hitting percentage. Defensive specialist Avery Acker registered 49 digs in the SMU victory.
SMU opened up a 10-5 lead early in the first set and stretched its least to seven after an Acker service ace. The Huskies battled back, cutting the lead to three after Camille Evans (Chicago, Ill.) and Anagu posted back-to-back kills. A Mustang attack error forced SMU to take its first timeout of the set. Following the breather, UConn rallied for five straight points, highlighted by back-to-back combo blocks. UConn took a one-point edge at 26-25 and sealed its set win with a kill from Erika Thomas (Ocoee, Fla.). Anagu posted a set-best five kills and hit .444 in the opening frame.
Neither team was able to open up much an early edge in the second until two Husky attack errors made it 13-10 in favor of the visitors. A kill by Strawberry made it 16-12 but SMU pushed the offensive attack, rattling off nine of the final 10 points to take the set, 25-14.
The Mustangs rode their momentum following the 10-minute break and jumped ahead of the Huskies 9-5 early in the third, forcing a UConn whistle. After the clock stoppage, the Huskies used two kills from Evans to pull within three but a 3-to-1 run by the visitors pushed the score to 20-15. Two straight attack errors followed by a Strawberry slam drew the Huskies to within two but SMU responded and closed the set, 25-21.
The teams traded points in the fourth until the Huskies broke through for a five-point run, highlighted by two kills from Maugle. SMU called for time and promptly responded with a 5-to-2 run of its own as the UConn bench called for a breather. The visitors opened up a three-point edge after an Acker kill and scored the final three points of the set to seal its match victory.
The Huskies fall to 9-3 in matches where the squad wins the first set. Maugle, who is attempting to become just the seventh Husky with 1,000 career kills and digs now stands at 938 kills and 892 digs in her four-year career.
The Huskies are now 0-4 all-time against the Mustangs in a series that dates back to 1999.
The Huskies will head on the road to complete their season series’ with Cincinnati and Memphis. First up, UConn faces the Bearcats on Friday, Oct. 31 at 7 p.m.
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