As usual I try to cover defense and assists when I can, but it’s very hard to follow so I do what I can. The omission of most defensive and assists play is by no means a reflection of the importance of these plays, there’s just so much that I can write down on any given play and the final result is usually clearer, though I try my best to cover as much ground as possible. I try to use the terms as accurately as possible.
The University of Connecticut Huskies welcomed in two Big East opponents this past weekend, and the first match was played on Saturday when the Mountaineers came into Gampel Pavilion. The Huskies emerged during starting lineups tossing small balls into the crowd to the delight of those who caught one, but soon afterward the match itself was to start.
West Virginia’s Kailee Goold served a ball over and UConn was unable to return the serve for the ace I believe. Chauntay Mickens put the Huskies on the board by tapping a ball over and in bounds to the right side of the WVU line. UConn knocked the ball out of bounds to bring the score to 1-2 however. The visitors hit a ball into the net following that and the score was tied at 2. U of C’s Kate Seabaugh hit a ball from their left to the defense’s right gap to pick up a point, but Mountaineer Abby Norman tapped a ball by the defensive front line to tie the score back up. Teammate Abby Tevis (one of three Abby’s on the team) hit a spike which bounced off the block to the floor for another point. A time out was called with the score 3-4.
Bonnie West served a ball over and UConn set it up poorly, but Rebecca Murray hustled to try a save, which unfortunately went out of bounds to make it 3-5. Seabaugh hit a ball from the UConn left to the WVU left which the D got a hand on, but it was no use and the score was 4-5. The Mountaineers hit the ball out of bounds to bring make the game tied at 5. They would hit the ball into the net on the ensuing play as well and UConn now had the lead 6-5. The Huskies would give up the lead when they served out of bounds on the next play, but Sade Chambers would smash a spike over that the defense might have touched, but could not get the return. A large rally followed on the next play, but Bridget Denson-Dorman ended it when she banked the ball in for another point. That rally also featured an excellent diving save for the Huskies. With the score 8-6, the home team would suffer a two hit error and West Virginia gained another point, but Seabaugh’s spike bounced off the defenders and out of bounds on the next point. Murray would also spike one over and a bad set would prevent a WVU return to give the Huskies a 3 point lead 10-7. A serve out of bounds would return the ball and give a point to the WVU side. Just as a note, throughout the match Connecticut Libero Jessica Isaac was coming up with many solid digs to get the returns going.
Denson-Dorman hit a ball behind her which dropped in to the WVU zone for a husky point, and she came up with a great save in the out of bounds error which a teammate hit over leading to a West Virginia hit into the net. A Mountaineer error on the next play would make it 13-8. WVU came back when they hit a ball into UConn’s right defensive gap, but they knocked a ball out of bounds and then committed two more errors to lead to a 16-9 score.
The Huskies gave up a point when they served out of bounds, but got another when WVU served into the net. Gina Heiderman spiked a ball in from the net which landed in the defense’s front for another point. Abby Norman responded for the Mountaineers by knock a point off the defense out of bounds and the score was 18-11.
Kate Seabaugh picked up another spike when her shot hit off the WVU defense for UConn’s 19th point. A big rally ensued featuring some great defense by West Virginia’s West, but Seabaugh ended the rally with a spike off the d and out of bounds. Abby Raines hit a ball off the UConn D for a point for WVU though on the next play and it was 20-12. Fellow Abby, Tevis smashed a ball through the defense and teammate Lisa Hough hit a ball over that the Huskies couldn’t return and the score was now 20-14.
West Virginia served out of bounds, and Denson-Dorman knocked a ball in to the gap in the defensive center zone to pick up another UConn point. Connecticut would hit the ball more than three times in a return attempt after that and it was 22-15. Despite some good West Virginia blocks the visitors would hit into the net on the next play, and hit another ball out of bounds to give UConn a nine point lead. A time out was called by WVU following that.
When play resumed UConn served into the net, but after that Chambers hit a ball straight in to a gap in the defense’s back zone, and a WVU spike out of bounds would make the score 26-16. The Huskies hit a ball out of bounds as well and the score was 26-17, but Seabaugh picked up another UConn point when she smashed a spike to the back corner. Abby Norman had a spike of her own to bring her team back within 9, though a WVU error would extend UConn’s lead back to 10. Ashley Pappas spiked a ball over which the U of C hit out of bounds though and the lead was back to nine 28-19.
The Mountaineers served a ball out of bounds on the next play though to put UConn in the game point position. The Huskies hit a ball out though and it was 29-20. The end was at hand though when Lauren Lamberti ripped a ball over the net which ricocheted off the rolling WVU libero and sailed into the crowd to make it 30-20. UConn 1, WVU 0.
Game 2 began with UConn serving out of bounds, but Rebecca Murray quickly tied the game up when she spiked a ball to the gap. Seabaugh then knocked a ball into an empty piece of the WVU center defense. The Mountaineers hit a return out of bounds to make it 3-1 Huskies. U of C committed a two hit error, and a Abby Norman and Ashley Pappas tied the game with a block to a gap to make it 3-3.
The West Virginia serve hit the net and came to an abrupt stop dropping in front of the UConn defense, but a Husky spike tied the game back up at 4. WVU hit a ball out of bounds, but Norman spiked a shot off the defense to tie it up at 5 in this back and forth battle. Bonnie West than served over an ace which UConn couldn’t return. Lisa Hough picked up another point for the visitors as well and it was now 5-7.
The Mountaineers kept up the pressure when Hough hit it into the gap again and West served two straight aces. With the score 5-10, UConn called a time out. When play resumed Lauren Lamberti put an end to the Mountaineer scoring run with a huge spike into a gap. Ashley Pappas responded for the gold and blue and spiked off the defense to keep the lead at 5. Seabaugh picked up a pair of points when she launched a spike untouched to the back gap of the WVU defense. She then served an ace on the next play to bring Connecticut within 3. Sade Chambers followed up her teammate’s success with a smash which the defense deflected into the seats, but UConn would surrender a point when a block failed. With the score 9-12, West Virginia would hit a ball out of bounds on two successive plays to bring UConn back within 1. WVU’s Kristina Gallahan spiked a shot in and off the defense to make it 11-13, but the visitors gave committed a 4 hit error to reduce their lead to 1 again. Norman spiked through a block off the defense and out, and UConn followed that with a hit out of bounds to bring the score to a 12-15. Norman and Pappas combined on a block to extend their lead again. Kailee Goold kept up the scoring when her serve was knocked by the Huskies into the seats. The U of C gave up another point when they hit out of bounds on the next play as well. A time out was called by UConn, the score was now 12-18.
Play started back up and Lamberti spiked into the back gap of the Mountaineer defense to put UConn at 13, but West Virginia went on another scoring run for four points including another block by Norman and Pappas, as well as a Pappas spike. WVU served into the net to end the run, and Lamberti and Chambers ended a long rally with a block off the defense. WVU picked up another point when the Huskies hit out, but served into the net on the following play. West Virginia’s number 4, Pappas came up with a huge spike which flew off the defense and out to bring the lead to 8 as it was 16-24. UConn’s 4, Seabaugh returned the favor to make it 17-24, and West Virginia blocked a ball out of bounds to give UConn another point. With that a time out was called by the Mountaineers.
Following the break in the action UConn hit out of bounds to put WVU within 5 points of victory, though the visitors hit the antenna and then committed a two hit error to bring the Huskies back within 5. UConn served out of bounds to put the score to 20-26. Denson-Dorman would tap a ball in, and Lamberti would smash another attack in for a 22-26 score. West Virginia spiked a return out and it was 23-26. Norman followed that up with a tap into the gap to extend the lead back to 4, but WVU would hit out of bounds to make it 24-27.
Lamberti ended the next rally when she tapped a ball over the net while turning in the air, which dropped in for a point. Another time out was called by West Virginia It unfortunately would not help as the Mountaineers knocked a ball into the antenna on the next play and UConn jumped onto the offensive when Heiderman had a huge block to the front gap of the WVU line to tie it at 27. Lamberti hit into the gap, for one point, then she walloped an attack off the D for another, and it was 29-27 UConn. West Virginia responded with a spike which bounced off the defense into the seats to bring it to 29-28. Lamberti ended it though when her tap fell into a gap for Connecticut’s 30th point. UConn 2, WVU 0.
After a break, Game 3 began with UConn’s Chambers spiking a ball which rebounded off the Mountaineers and into the spectators. Pappas responded for WVU by spiking into the back UConn zone to even the score at 1. Denson-Dorman set off a Connecticut scoring run when he hit over a block, and she then served a ball that WVU missed the dig on and the ace was hers. On the next play Lamberti spiked the ball over and the WVU dig bounced off another player and was not returned. UConn committed some sort of error I believe to make it 4-2, but WVU served out of bounds though Pappas picked up another point on the next play with a spike. Two successive Mountaineer hits out of bounds gave Connecticut a 7-3 lead though, until UConn served out of bounds to bring the visitors within 4. Lamberti stepped up again with a spike for the 8th U of C point, but Hough scored one for WVU when her return was hit out of bounds by the home team. A UConn lift error made it 8-6, but Chambers was set up by Denson-Dorman and she smashed a spike into the center gap. Kailee Goold responded for West Virginia when she dropped a ball in on the UConn D, and it was 9-7
The Mountaineers blocked an attack out of bounds, to give UConn a 10-7 lead, but Tevis scored for the visitors when her attack was hit into the seats by the defense. Seabaugh responded with a spike into the center, but Norman kept the shootout going with a spike of her own. With the score sitting at 11-9, WVU hit out of bounds. Seabaugh then picked up a pair of points in a row first with a block, then with an utterly massive attack to the gap. Lamberti then spiked through a block, and Seabaugh picked up another spike to cause UConn to have a 16-9 lead and to cause a Mountaineer time out.
The time out however didn’t stop the Huskies as Gina Heiderman spiked an attack which the defense knocked behind them and out of bounds. Murray than served a ball which the defense couldn’t return for an ace. Seabaugh picked up another spike to the gap, and Lamberti, not surprisingly had another spike as well. It was 20-9 and UConn was not done. Heiderman and Seabaugh picked up two straight blocks, and Seabaugh spiked another shot in. On the next play, surprise surprise it was Lamberti with another knock into a gap. Another UConn block resulted in a 25-9 lead. The Huskies had picked up 13 straight points before they served out of bounds. The eye of the storm was momentary for WVU though as they hit out of bounds as well and Seabaugh tapped a shot in. Another Connecticut point raised the score to 27-11. WVU came up with a spike for a 12th point, but UConn responded. Chambers was setup on a huge spike and delivered it in and the Huskies served just in bounds to the corner to bring it to game point. The next serve went into the net and it was 29-13. A large rally ensued at the next game point but Seabaugh ended it when she spiked to the corner. The final score 30-13, UConn 3, WVU 0.
(Based on eyewitness account. There is no play by play for this match.)