STORRS, Conn. – The University of Connecticut volleyball team cruised past USF in straight sets (25-19, 25-20, 25-20) in a American Athletic Conference contest on Friday afternoon at Harry A. Gampel Pavilion. With the victory, the Huskies move to 15-11 (9-6, The American) while the Bulls falls to 9-18 (6-9, The American).
UConn has won eight of its last nine matches with half of the victories coming in three sets.
Junior Jade Strawberry (Tallahassee, Fla.) paced the team with nine kills and a match-high 12 digs. Senior Immanuella Anagu (Culver City, Calif.) tallied seven kills on 12 attempts for a .417 hitting percentage. Sophomore Tosin Adeniyi (Springfield, Ill.) also had seven kills. Junior Rebecca Rivera (Mississauga, Ontario) posted 17 helpers while junior Jessika Long (Sandy, Utah) totaled 10 assists. Junior Kenya Cason (Columbus, Ohio) posted six kills and seven digs.
Anagu added four block assists and one solo block, bringing her career total to 425. She only needs three blocks to surpass Christine Lambert ’02 and move into third-place among UConn’s career blocks leaders.
The first set featured 13 tie scores and seven lead changes. Both team remained tied early on until UConn took a two-point lead (10-8) thanks to a service ace by freshman Kennedy Arundel (Chicago, Ill.) and spike from Anagu. The upper hand didn’t last long as the Bulls fought to lock the score at 11. The pair would go on to tie the set four more times. A kill by sophomore Danielle Cabel (Bettendorf, Iowa) and another ace from Arundel forced USF to call for time. The Huskies notched the final four points, highlighted by two blocks from Anagu with kills by Cason and senior Erika Thomas (Ocoee, Fla.) to take the set, 25-19.
UConn got out to a 10-6 advantage to start the second set due to three USF errors combined with kills by Strawberry and Cason. The Bulls managed to rebound to tie the set at 10-10. Both teams kept things close with the Huskies going on a 9-3 run to take a six-point lead. USF recorded four-straight points that included two aces to make UConn burn a timeout. Back on the court, Adeniyi and Cabel joined forces at the net for the block and three more errors by the Bulls helped UConn to a 23-19 edge. The Huskies closed things with a bang when Anagu and Cason stuffed the ball back to earn the block and end the set, 25-20.
The Huskies we quick to take a 9-6 lead in the third set. UConn continued its offensive attack, going ahead 13-9 after an ace by freshman Iman McGary (Rockford, Ill.) and spike from Strawberry to send USF to the bench. Out of the break, the Bulls rallied to knot the score at 14 but the Huskies went up 19-17 on an Anagu kill. A UConn service error and USF ace helped the Bulls tie things up at 19-19. Luckily, consecutive kills by Cason and Strawberry gave the Huskies a two-point lead and the Bulls decided to use its final timeout. Two-straight attack errors by USF along with Strawberry catching the back line gave UConn a match-point opportunity. Thomas slammed the ball down hard to get secure the win for the Huskies, 25-20.
UConn is back in action on Sunday, Nov. 15 when it hosts UCF. The first serve is set for 1 p.m.