Nov. 15, 2012
MILWAUKEE, Wis. - University of Connecticut volleyball, seeded fourth makes its first postseason appearance since 2009 when it takes the court against No. 5 seed Cincinnati at 10:00 am, Friday morning. The Huskies closed out the regular season with wins in seven of their last eight matches, including a playoff-clinching sweep at Syracuse on November 4.
Last Time Out
UConn downed USF 3-1 in the regular season finale last Friday. The Huskies reached the 10-win mark in BIG EAST play for the first time since 2008 with the win. Connecticut took the first two sets 25-21 and 25-23. The Huskies trailed 17-11 in the first, before storming back to tie the game at 18 all and eventually steal the set. The Bulls came back for a decisive 25-13 win in the third, but UConn finished off USF, 25-19, in the fourth. In her final home match, senior Mattison Quayle led all players with 19 kills. Sophomore Karson Ratliff reached double figures with 12, while freshman Immanuella Anagu posted 10 with a .412 hit percentage and seven blocks.
Against the Field
The Huskies posted a 3-5 record in the regular season against the seven other teams that reached the tournament. UConn twice defeated USF, 3-2 and 3-1, and picked up a 3-1 win at Pittsburgh. In its five losses, Connecticut was swept by St. John's (Sep. 29) and Notre Dame (Oct. 6), while pushing Cincinnati to the brink in five sets.
About the Huskies
Connecticut enters the tournament with an overall record of 19-11 and placed xxx in the BIG EAST with a 10-5 league record. The Husky attack is led by senior outside hitter Mattison Quayle, who averages 3.24 kills per set, while hitting just .178. Sophomore outside hitter Devon Maugle has been a major contributor all season long. She is second on the team with 3.17 kills per set. Freshman setter Marissa Prinzbach won the starting position in early September and has averaged 9.93 assists per set to go with 2.23 digs per set. Defensively, senior libero Kelsey Maving leads the way with 5.33 digs per set, while freshman middle blocker Erika Thomas dominates at the net with 1.12 blocks per set.
Quayle was named to the honor roll for the final week of the regular season. In back-to-back weeks, the Huskies claimed the BIG EAST Rookie of the Week honor and also had a player added to the weekly honor roll. For the week ending October 21, Prinzbach was named the Rookie of the Week and classmate Immanuella Anagu was placed on the honor roll. Prinzbach averaged 10.89 assists per set, including 50 assists and 18 digs in a win over USF (Oct. 19). Anagu hit an astounding .525 for thw weekend on 25 kills and 10 blocks. A week later, Anagu was honored as the Rookie of the Week. She hit .340 with 23 kills, including a career-high 17 against Seton Hall. In the same week, Maving was picked to the honor roll after totaling 56 digs (7.00 d/s), including a season-high 34 against the Pirates. Earlier in the season, Quayle was the first Husky honored with an honor roll selection for the week ending September 23.
At Marquette on November 4, Quayle became the 13th player in program history to join the 1,000-kill club at Connecticut. She became the fourth to do so under head coach Holly Strauss-O'Brien on her fourth kill of the match.
Huskies Postseason History
Connecticut is just 11-38 in 25 BIG EAST Championship appearances since 1982. The last Husky win came against Rutgers, 3-0, in 1999. Under the current tournament format, UConn made the postseason in four consecutive seasons from 2006-09. Following their regular season championships in 1994 and 1998, the Huskies were eliminated in the semifinals by Pittsburgh and Notre Dame. Six of Connecticut's 11 wins have come in the now-extinct consolation round.
Connecticut welcomed four freshmen into the program for the 2012 season, all of which have played a significant role on the court throughout the season. Prinzbach has started 23 out of seven matches as a rookie. At the net, middle blockers Thomas and Anagu have seen regular action in nearly every match. Thomas is averaging a team-best 1.12 b/s to go with 1.60 k/s, while Anagu averages 1.59 k/s and 0.99 b/s. On the outside, Madeline Kuppe has totaled 126 kills for a 1.73 average.
In the Books
Maving entered the season ranked eighth in career digs and has since climbed the ladder to second all-time at Connecticut with 1,860. She trails only Jessica Issac, who notched 2,064 for the Huskies. After reach the 1,000-kill mark, Quayle has risen to 10th all-time in career digs, entering the tournament with 1,058. She is behind Chanice Harris in ninth with 1,073.
Throughout the regular season, Maugle and Quayle led the team with nine double-doubles, apiece. Maugle's first of the season came against Dartmouth with 17 kills and 14 digs. She posted a career-high 19 kills and added 11 digs for her fourth of the year against Northern Illinois on September 8. Quayle reached the 20-kill mark for the third time in her career and picked up 11 digs against UCSB to earn her first double-double during the first weekend of action at the LMU Invitational. Since then, she has posted double-doubles against New Orleans and Northern Illinois. From the setter position, Prinzbach added six double-double, while senior Angela Roidt had one.
Sophomore outside hitter Karson Ratliff has emerged as a major player in the UConn rotation since conference play began. As a freshman, she tallied just 20 kills in 27 sets played. Prior to the first BIG EAST match of the year, she had started one match and totaled seven kills on two occasions. In the first conference tilt, Ratliff posted six kills and a career-high eight blocks in a win over Villanova. In conference play she averages 2.31 k/s, reaching double figures on six occasions, while adding 29 blocks.
Last Time vs. Cincinnati
Down two sets to none, UConn stormed back against Cincinnati before ultimately falling, 3-2 in front of a record crowd of 2,245 at Gampel Pavilion on October 12. The Bearcats won the first two sets by scores of 25-21 and 25-17. The Huskies came back with narrow 25-23 and 25-22 victories in the third and fourth. In the deciding set, Cincinnati rolled to a 15-8 final. Quayle led UConn with 15 kills and added eight digs. For the Bearcats, Jordanne Scott led all players with 19 kills and chipped in 12 digs. Ratliff was second on Connecticut with 14 kills, while Maugle added 12 and tied a career-high in digs with 17.
All-Time vs. the Bearcats
Cincinnati leads the all-time series with Connecticut, 8-1. The Huskies are 1-3 against the Bearcats at home with the only win coming in 2008, a 3-2 win. Four UConn players scored 11 or more kills in the win, led by Jordan Kirk, then a freshman with 13. The two teams met in the BIG EAST Championship Quarterfinals in 2009. In Louisville, the Huskies fell to the Bearcats, 3-1. Quayle and Rebecca Murray each netted a team-high 11 kills for UConn. Cincinnati was led by 15 kills from Stephanie Niemer. Scott tallied 11 kills and hit .476 in the win.