by David F.P. September 20, 2008 [Modest 2008 UConn Volleyball Image Gallery]
STORRS, CT-Two flagship New England state schools met at Connecticut’s Gampel Pavilion before a small but vocal crowd and this hard fought match would end up taking five sets to complete.
The Maine Black Bears and Connecticut Huskies opened up their match with Maine’s Ashlee Wright serving, but Jordan Kirk spiked in a kill and it was 1-0 Connecticut. The Huskies served into the net and the set was even. UConn’s Chauntay Mickens spiked a kill in to take the lead back on the ensuing play, and following that knocked a ball back over the net when Maine passed it over by mistake. A serve out of bounds by the home team put the score at 3-2. The sides battled through the next back and forth until UM’s Lindsay Allman tapped a ball over and Connecticut couldn’t get the return. A Black Bears serve back out bounds returned the serve and the lead to Connecticut. Brittany Kiehl had a block to tie it back up for Maine, but Lauren Lamberti tapped an attack over in front of the defense to take the lead for the home team. A Maine spike into the net extended the lead to 6-4. Lamberti and Megan Frey blocked a ball to gain another point but a Husky block out of bounds put Maine back within 2. Kirk then delivered a smash which the D hit outside the lines and it was 8-5. Maine then picked up two points including a Allman tap over, but with the score 8-7 they served out of bounds.
The Huskies hit the ball out of the court three times in a row to give a lead to Maine 9-10. Jessica Wolfenden on the ensuing play set a ball over and Connecticut couldn’t set up the return. UConn got back on the board when Annie Luhrsen faked a set and then hit the ball over instead. It was 10-11, but each side then committed errors to put the ball at 11-12. Margot Demere stepped into serve for the Huskies and on the return Maine committed a lift. It was 12-12, but the two sides traded points again including a Mickens kill. She picked up a second kill when her attack flew off the defense and out, and Luhrsen scored an Ace when her serve was mis-set by the Black Bears. It was 15-13 Connecticut, until a pair of errors tied it back up. Mickens regained the lead for her team with a huge spike, and Lamberti delivered a block. With the score 17-15, the ball went back and forth. Despite a great defensive play by UConn Libero Jessica Isaac, the Huskies eventually spiked a shot out of play, and Goettsch spiked a shot off the home team to tie it back up.
Lamberti found the defense’s left corner and placed a spike just in bounds to regain the lead, but Maine’s Amanda Armstrong knocked a ball off the block and out to tie it up and hammered another shot in for a 18-19 lead. The Huskies benefited from the Bears hitting an attack out of bounds, and Rebecca Murray tapped one over to regain the lead for UC. With the score 20-19, Maine called a time out to set up the final points of play.
When play resumed, Maine’s Samantha Andreozzi hit an attack off the block and out to tie things up. Wright then served and UConn couldn’t return it in 3 hits. Connecticut’s Devon Farrell responded with a kill off the block to tie it up, but Andreozzi hammered a blast in to retake the lead. A serve out of bounds tied things back up, but Wolfenden used a sideways tip over to regain the lead. The Maine advantage was lost when a serve flew out of plays, and Luhrsen picked up an Ace when her serve ricocheted off the defense’s dig attempt. Maine called a time out but when play resumed they knocked an attack out, and UConn picked up the win 25-23.
Connecticut 1, Maine 0
The set opened up with a back and forth of point scoring including Mickens and Lamberti picking up kills, and Wolfenden finding a gap to send a ball into. With the score 2-2, Connecticut served out of bounds touching off a large Maine run consisting of a Kiehl Block, two Connecticut errors, and an Ace for Wright, as well as another Connecticut error to make it 2-8 Maine. During the play at 2-4 Wright also had a great defensive save, followed up by more defense by her teammate to eventually set up a Connecticut two hit error.
Murray stopped the bleeding with a smash, and Lamberti had an Ace on the next serve. It was 5-8 when Maine had another mini run, lead by an Andreozzi kill, a Husky spike into the net, and Kiehl tapping an attack over and off the defense. It was 5-11 and Connecticut called a time out. Whatever Coach Holly Strauss-O’Brien told her Huskies must have worked as they started scoring first with a Farrell spike kill, then Mickens tipping into a gap, and a Maine two hit error putting the score at 8-11. Allman’s attack was dug by Connecticut out, but Connecticut kept climbing back with another Mickens kill, as well as a Maine tap attack failing to get back across the net. The home team gave up a point next to make it 10-13, but following a big battle back and forth Maine two hit the ball and the Huskies were with 2, 11-13.
Frey and Lamberti combine on a block, but UM’s Laura Goettsch found the right corner of the Connecticut defense to hammer an attack into. A miscue by the Huskies extended the Maine lead again, but Frey punched one over to a gap to make it 13-15. Goettsch struck again with an attack, but Lamberti returned the favor. Farrell & Murray then came up with the block, and Frey had an Ace when her serve smacked into the top of the net and blooped in behind the defensive front line. Connecticut had come back to make it 16-16. Maine called a time out.
When play resumed the teams trade points back and forth until they reached 19-19. This included several errors, as well as a Kiehl kill, and a Allman kill. Connecticut picked up points off Maine miscues. Kiehl regained the lead with a smash, and a pair of Huskies errors put Maine up by 3 19-22. Goettsch then delivered two straight kills to put her team within 1 of the win. They served out of bounds to return the ball to Connecticut, but the home team knocked an attack out of play, and it was Maine with the win 20-25.
Connecticut 1, Maine 1
Frey picked up a spike kill to open the scoring, and Kate Seabaugh followed with an Ace. Maine would pick up its first point on a Connecticut serve into the net, but a spike put the Huskies up 3-1. The Black Bears roared back with a Andreozzi kill, and another Ace from Wright. Murray unleashed a big smash to the gap and it was 4-3, but a Kiehl tap over tied it back up. Murray added another kill, but Wolfenden’s tip tied it back up. Connecticut pulled out to a run of a Maine error, an Isaac Ace which bounced off the defense, and then a second Ace flying just in bounds on the defensive side. A Maine hit into the net brought the score to 9-5. The home’s team run came to an end with a serve into the net, and a spike out of bounds, as well as a Allman block. The score was now 9-8. Seabaugh hammered an attack over which ricocheted off the defense and onto the scorers table, but the visitors attacked on the next play and Connecticut blocked it out of bounds. Maine continued the run with another point followed by a Armstrong block, and a Andreozzi tap over Connecticut called a time out with the score 10-12.
When play resumed Armstrong and Andreozzi delivered a block, and a Connecticut error followed, but the Black Bears served into the net bringing the score to 11-14. Armstrong capitalized on a set with a smash in, but the visitors served into the net on the net play to complete the point exchange. With the score 12-15, the Black Bears took off on another scoring run bringing the score to 14-20 off of a Wolfenden kill, a Goettsch tap over, a Andreozzi precision spike just in bounds, a Wolfenden kill and a Kiehl attack that flew off the Huskies and out. Connecticut managed a pair of points of a Lamberti tap to a gap, and a Maine error.
UConn stopped the bleeding temporarily with a gigantic attack off the defense and out of bounds, but Allman responded with a blast off the D to the floor. Another Maine point would follow, and Armstrong hammered a kill in as well. Luhrsen had her own kill to bring it to 16-23, but Maine was closing in on the win, and two points later they had it, 16-25.
Maine 2, Connecticut 1
With Maine up by 2, the Huskies had to win Set 4 or face losing the match. The two teams basically traded points until it was 3-3. For Connecticut, Frey had a block, Kirk a kill, and Lamberti a kill of her own. For Maine, their points came from a Connecticut, error, Andreozzi attack, and a Armstrong & Goettsch tandem block. The Huskies then started to roll. Picking up a point when a ball dropped in at the net, then another big Kirk attack, as well as two main errors made it 7-3. Luhrsen’s mega spike extended the lead, and Maine called a time out.
When play resumed the Bears committed a two hit error to put UConn up 9-3, but they Kiehl finally go them a point with a smash. Not surprisingly, Kirk responded with a tap over at the net, to make it 10-4.
Maine began to slowly climb back though. Kiehl had a kill, though on the next play, thanks in part to a great defensive save by Isaac to keep the ball alive, the visitors eventually attacked out of bounds to give Connecticut a point, but Allman threaded the needle to lace a spike in to bring the set to 11-6. A pair of errors by each side followed, then another exchange of points, though Andreozzi closed the gap by a point with her smash through the defense. On the next play, Connecticut played some awesome defense making a low probability save and barely tipping the ball over on the third hit, but Maine would capitalize and Goettsch attacked to gain the point. It was 13-10, but the Black bears served one outside the lines, though they got right back within 3 with a smash the next play.
Connecticut’s Kirk hammered another attack in for a point, but Kiehl responded to keep the gap at 3. Luhrsen tapped an attack cross court to the defense’s corner to extend the lead, but a Husky error put the lead back at 3. Mickens delivered a big time spike, but Allman responded in kind on the next play, though a pair of Maine errors would put Connecticut up by 5, 19-14.
Allman knocked one off the blockers, and Wolfenden came up with the ace. Maine got within 2 on the next play, when despite a great play by Isaac, the Huskies hit the ball out of bounds. Mickens got the lead back to 3 though with a hard smash, and Lamberti joined in with a smash of her own.
Maine did not intend to give in so easily though, and Allman blasted back, though the visitors served into the net on the following point. Connecticut did the same and it was 22-19. Kiehl then blocker her way to a 22-20 score, and Connecticut called a time out. When play resumed, despite a good defensive play by Andreozzi, the Bears had a net violation, though Goettsch’s kill returned the gap to 2. The Huskies closed the door with a Murray block, and a Maine antenna error to end the set at 25-20. Connecticut 2, Maine 2.
Set 5 (To 15)
The tie breaking set would be to 15 points. Maine started things off with 3 quick points on a Allman kill, another kill, and then Armstrong’s spike. Connecticut came back with a Mickens tap over, and, benefited from a Maine error, though the visitors then pulled ahead again to 2-4. Connecticut responded with a Mickens attack which flew off the defense and deep into the seats, and Luhrsen delivered up an Ace for a 4-4 tie. Allman and Lamberti each picked up kills to keep the score even. Lamberti smashed one into the defense’s left corner to take the lead, but Goettsch responded with an attack of her own, and a block and Wright Ace later had Maine up 6-8. The teams then switched sides as is customary in the 5th set. Wolfenden then scored a ninth point for Maine, and lead to a Connecticut time out.
When play resumed Connecticut committed a four hit error to bring the score to 6-10. Kirk smashed one off the Maine defense, and the Black Bears served into the net to bring the set to 8-10., but a pair of Connecticut attack errors on either side of a time out brought the score to 8-12. The Huskies unleashed a spike and despite doing a split, Maine’s libero could not set up the return. Kirk then thundered an attack in to the corner. The score was 10-12 and Maine called a time out. Maine crushed her attack to extend the lead to 3, but the Black Bears served out of bounds and it was 11-13. A battle ensued on the next point and Mickens sent a cross court kill flying into the defense’s corner, but Maine responded with a point.
The score was 12-14, and Connecticut was one point away from a loss. Mickens hammered a shot off the defense into the seats, but Wolfenden found a gap to set the ball into on the next back and forth giving the Black Bears the set and match, 13-15.
Maine 3, Connecticut 2.
(Roster Information Courtesy UConn Sports Information Release. This report has not been verified against the official play by play.)