PHILADELPHIA, Pa. – Junior middle blocker Immanuella Anagu (Culver City, Calif.) notched a career-best 19 digs, while senior outside hitter Devon Maugle (Plymouth Meeting, Pa.) scooped a career-high 25 digs, but the University of Connecticut women’s volleyball team came up just short, 3-2 (22-25, 25-22, 22-25, 25-20, 11-15), on the road against Temple on Wednesday night. UConn falls to 10-16 (3-12, The American), while the Owls improve to 20-6 overall.
Maugle added 10 digs to go along with her 25 digs and Anagu hit at least .500 for the second time this season (Sept. 24 vs. Temple). Freshman Kenya Cason recorded a double-double (14 kills, 19 digs) and Erika Thomas added 15 kills and six blocks in the setback. Senior setter Sage Esposito posted a strong showing, notching a double-double with 22 assists and 15 digs, and captain Brianna Datti delivered a game-high three service aces and also added 24 digs.
The Huskies posted a .223 team hitting percentage and also owned a 9-to-7 total block advantage. The Huskies split the season series with their foes from Philadelphia and now stand at 2-8 all-time against Temple.
The Owls moved ahead 3-1 in the early stages of the opening frame but back-to-back kills from Cason evened things up at three. The teams traded points to 7-7 before the Owls grabbed three straight points to take a 10-7 edge. A Temple service error moved UConn within two. but a 4-to-1 run by the home team pushed the score to 14-10 and forced a Husky clock stoppage. The Huskies climbed back to 14-13 after scoring three straight times with Datti serving but a Dara Peric kill and ensuing service ace moved the deficit back to three. An Adeniyi kill followed by a ball handling and attack error by Temple helped UConn move within one at 20-19 and drew a Temple timeout. Out of the break, the Owls grabbed a two-point edge and sealed the frame, 25-22, after a Husky attack error.
A tight second set found UConn out front with a 10-9 advantage following kills from Maugle and Anagu. Consecutive kills from Kirsten Overton gave the Owls their first lead of the frame, 13-12, but UConn answered right back, jumping ahead by one following kills from Cason and Thomas. The Huskies pushed the lead to two following a Cmajdalka slam and a Datti ace as the Temple bench called for a breather. Connecticut kept its foot on the gas out of the timeout, charging ahead, 23-19, and eventually winning the set, 25-22, after Cason’s seventh kill of the match.
The Huskies earned a slight 5-3 lead in the third but Temple answered quickly, rattling off a 5-to-1 run to claim an 8-6 lead. The home team opened up a three-point edge but Cason and Thomas responded with kills as the score moved to 13-12. UConn finally knotted things up at 18 following an Owl attack error but Temple scored five of the next six points to move ahead by five. The Huskies pulled within 23-22 but couldn’t come any closer, falling, 25-22.
The team’s split the first 14 points of the fourth frame until UConn took the first multiple point lead at 10-8 following an Anagu kill and a combo block from Thomas and Anagu. Temple tied things up at 14 but the Huskies fired back, grabbing an 18-15 lead after kills from Cason and Adeniyi and a block assist by Thomas and Adeniyi. A 6-to-3 run moved the Huskies to within one point of the set win and Anagu delivered the clincher with her 17th kill of the match.
Connecticut grabbed the first two points of the decisive fifth set but the Owls stormed back, scoring the next four points. With the set tied at five, UConn scored three-straight, highlighted by Anagu’s career-best 19th kill of the game. The Owls responded with their own 3-0 run to tie things up. A Thomas/Adeniyi block assist gave UConn an 11-10 lead but Temple scored five in-a-row to win the match, 3-2.
The Huskies will return home to Gampel Pavilion to play host to East Carolina on Sunday, Nov. 16. First serve is set for 1 p.m.
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