STORRS, Conn. – Junior outside hitter Jade Strawberry (Tallahassee, Fla.) posted 10 kills and sophomore outside hitter Kenya Cason (Columbus, Ohio) had a game-high 13 digs and was one kill shy of a double-double but it was not enough as the University of Connecticut volleyball team fell, 3-0, to SMU on Friday evening at Gampel Pavilion in Storrs, Conn. With the loss, UConn slips to 16-13 on the year and 10-8 in American Athletic Conference play. SMU improves to 26-3 on the year, including 16-1 in the loop.
Junior setter Rebecca Rivera (Mississauga, Ontario) registered a team-high 14 assists while freshman setter Emma Turner (Winter Park, Fla.) added 10 helpers for UConn, which has now won nine of its last 12 matches.
SMU clinched the American Athletic Conference Championship regular-season title on Friday and earned the league’s automatic bid into the NCAA Division I NCAA Women’s Volleyball Championship.
Cason’s nine kills came on only 18 attempts and defensive specialist Kennedy Arundel (Chicago, Ill.) helped pace the defensive effort with nine digs.
The Mustangs won the first set by a 25-15 count but the Huskies made things interesting in the second set. UConn trailed just 20-19 in the second set after a block by senior middle blocker Erika Thomas (Ocoee, Fla.) and junior middle blocker Hayley Cmajdalka (College Station, TX). However, SMU was able to put the set in its column by scoring six of the set’s next seven points.
UConn would not go quietly in the third set though, trailing only 22-18 after scoring three-consecutive points and forcing the Mustangs to call timeout. SMU tallied three of the next four points to clinch the match.
The Huskies will round out the home portion of their schedule on Sunday, November 22 when the team welcomes Tulsa to Gampel Pavilion at 12 p.m. Senior day festivities to honor middle blocker Immanuella Anagu and Thomas will precede the contest.