STORRS, Conn. - University of Connecticut outside hitters Kenya Cason (Columbus, Ohio) and Devon Maugle (Plymouth Meeting, Pa.) each tallied double-digit kills in a losing effort for the UConn women’s volleyball team, which fell to conference leader UCF, 3-1, at home Friday night. The loss drops the Huskies to 10-14 overall and 3-10 in American Athletic Conference play, while the Knights (20-5 overall) improved to 13-0 in the conference.
Cason finished the match with 19 kills and six digs, while Maugle notched 11 kills and managed 12 digs on the night. Sophomore setter Rebecca Rivera (Mississauga, Ontario) paced the Huskies with a team-high 27 assists, and fellow setter Sage Esposito (Milford, Conn.) added 19 helpers of her own. Connecticut, who committed 22 errors against the Knights, finished with a .209 attack percentage.
The two teams went point-for-point in the early going of the first set before the Knights built a 13-6 lead to force a Connecticut timeout. UCF would extend its lead to 17-7 behind a kill from Jale Hervey, but the Huskies made it interesting, cutting the Central Florida lead to 16-23. An attack error by UConn’s Erika Thomas eventually gave the Knights the first set, 25-16.
The Huskies jumped out to a quick 4-1 lead in the second, and a service ace by Maugle made it 14-9 UConn. Cason, who provided several kills down the stretch, secured the set for the Huskies with a booming spike, as UConn evened the match with a 25-21 victory.
In the third set, it was the Knights who took the early advantage, as kills by multiple UCF players made it 14-7 Central Florida. The Huskies would get within three points (17-14) before the Knights scored the final eight of 13 points of the set to win 25-19 and go up 2-1 in the match. Rivera tallied a team-high five assists in the third frame.
A late UConn rally in the fourth fell just short, as the Knights survived a furious comeback to win the match with a 25-23 victory in the final set. After a kill by UCF’s Kia Bright made it 24-19, the Huskies rattled off three straight puts to cut the deficit to two. A Connecticut service ace cut the UCF advantage to just one (24-23), but that was as close as the Huskies would get, as another kill from Bright sealed the match for the Knights.
The Huskies resume conference play on Sunday when they host South Florida. Six former Connecticut volleyball standouts will be honored during the match, which kicks off at 1 p.m.
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