CINCINNATI, Ohio – Three different Huskies delivered double-digit kills as the University of Connecticut women’s volleyball team took a thriller, 3-2 (25-23, 26-24, 24-26, 19-25, 15-11), over Cincinnati on Friday night at Fifth Third Arena. With the victory, UConn improves to 10-12 (3-8, The American), while Cincinnati drops to 13-10 (5-6, The American).
UConn now stands at 4-10 all-time against Cincinnati with wins in three of the last four meetings.
Senior tri-captain Devon Maugle (Plymouth Meeting, Pa.) notched a match-high 15 kills and also scooped 16 digs en route to her second straight double-double performance. Junior middle blocker Immanuella Anagu (Culver City, Calif.) turned in an excellent performance, tallying 14 kills to go along with a .364 hitting percentage and five block assists. Jade Strawberry (Tallahassee, Fla.) narrowly missed a double-double (10 kills, nine digs), while Hayley Cmajdalka delivered nine kills off the bench. Senior tri-captain Brianna Datti (Durham, N.H.) registered a team-high 18 digs and sophomore setter Rebecca Rivera dished out a team-best 33 assists.
The Huskies opened up a 6-3 lead in the opening set, grabbing a three-point edge after back-to-back kills from Strawberry and Anagu. Two Bearcat attack errors pushed the Husky edge to four but consecutive ball-handling errors by Connecticut cut the game to two. The Bearcats moved to within one after a Morgan Allred slam but Maugle responded with a kill to slow the run. Cincinnati grabbed its first lead of the set at 16-15 after rattling off a 4-0 run and forcing a Husky clock stoppage. The Huskies evened things up at 20 after a Datti ace and opened up a 24-21 edge after two Adeniyi kills. The home team moved within one but a Thomas kill sealed the set, 25-23.
The second set started out airtight with the squads splitting the first eight points of the frame. UConn took a 7-4 lead after an Anagu kill but the Bearcats responded with an 8-4 run to take their first lead of the set, 12-11. The Huskies reclaimed the lead after consecutive combo blocks from Anagu and Camille Evans (Chicago, Ill.) and forced the home team to use its first timeout of the set. Anagu continued her impressive second set, smacking back-to-back kills and pushing the Husky advantage to 18-13. Cincinnati drew even at 22 but three Maugle kills gave Connecticut a 25-24 advantage and the Huskies were able to grab the set victory after a Bearcat attack error.
The home team scored three of the first four points of the third set but UConn rallied, knotting things up at four following kills from Strawberry and Thomas. A 4-0 run pushed Cincinnati ahead at 9-5 but Maugle delivered her 10th and 11th kills of the match as UConn cut the lead to two. The Huskies took their first lead of the set at 12-11 after four straight points and the Bearcats called for time. UConn didn’t take its foot off the gas after the breather, moving ahead by three after Hayley Cmajdalka delivered her second kill of the match. A block assist by Thomas and Adeniyi opened the lead to six and but Cincinnati scored nine of the final 13 points of the set to take the frame, 26-24.
Much like the third set, the fourth was tight from the start with each team taking seven of the first 14 points. The Huskies grabbed a one-point edge after a monster Evans block but the home squad answered with a 10-to-4 run to stake itself to a 17-12 lead. The Huskies moved to within four but couldn’t draw closer, dropping the set, 25-19, and sending the match to a decisive fifth set.
The Huskies jumped ahead, 4-2, in the fifth after Datti registered her second service ace of the match. A Bearcat error drew a whistle from the bench but UConn continued to attack, moving ahead 7-3 after a Cason slam. Maugle’s match-best 15th kill extended the lead to 10-6 and the Huskies sealed the match victory with Thomas kill.
The Huskies round out the weekend road trip with a 2 p.m. at Memphis on Sunday, Nov. 2. Earlier this season, the Tigers took a 3-1 decision in Storrs.