STORRS, Conn. - The University of Connecticut volleyball team battled their way to a five-set victory over UCF Sunday afternoon at Gampel Pavilion. The win is the fourth-straight for the Huskies and gives them a weekend sweep in American Athletic Conference action. UConn is now 16-11 overall and 10-6 in AAC action.
The Huskies were led by junior Jade Strawberry (Tallahassee, Fla.) and sophomore Kenya Cason (Columbus, Ohio) who both posted double-doubles in the win. Strawberry led all players with 20 kills and finished the match hitting .309 (20-3-55). She chipped in with 11 digs and also had a pair of solo blocks and two block assists.
Cason posted 17 kills and had 15 digs while serving up a trio of aces. Senior Erika Thomas (Ocoee, Fla.) had 10 kills and hit .381 (10-2-21) for the match. Freshman libero Kennedy Arundel (Chicago, Ill.) came up with 20 digs in the win.
The Knights never gave up the lead in the first set, opening the match with a 25-22 win in the first. The Huskies answered with back-to-back wins in the second and third sets, 25-19 and 25-22. Tied at 11-11 in the second set, UConn rattled off an 8-2 run to grab control of the set fueled by a pair of kills by Strawberry. UCF closed to within 20-18 forcing a UConn timeout but the Huskies responded by closing the set on a 5-1 run with Arundel serving up a pair of aces.
In the third set, UConn was up 12-11 when they used back to back aces by r-junior Jessika Long (Sandy, Utah) to start another run to open their lead to 18-11. The Huskies pushed the lead to 22-15 but UCF rang off four-straight points to force a UConn time-out. UConn again responded and closed out the set with Strawberry posting consecutive kills for a 25-22 win.
The Knights grabbed a fourth set that saw 13 ties and three lead changes, winning 25-22. Taylor Wickey led the way with four kills in the set as UCF hit .355 (15-4-31) in the fourth, forcing the deciding fifth set.
The Huskies ran out to a quick 4-0 lead in the fifth and were up 8-6 at the side change. Strawberry's final kill of the day gave UConn a 14-12 lead but UCF refused to quit, tying it at 14-14 on an Abbie Fleener kill and a Husky attak error. UConn answered right back with a kill by Cason and took the match off an UCF attack error on set point.
UCF had four players with double digit kills led by Taylor Gallarat and Fleener with 14 apiece. Jordan Pingel psoted a match-high 25 digs in the loss.
UConn will be back in action on Wednesday night, November 18th when they travel to Temple for a 5:00 pm match.
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