CHESTNUT HILL, MA- The third match of the Saturday portion of the tournament was to bring together two familiar foes, the Hartford Hawks and the University of Connecticut Huskies. Though their path to facing each other would lead them outside the state, the action was fast and furious as America East battled Big East.
Set 1 opened with a back and forth leading to an eventual 15-15 tie. For the Hawks the scoring came off of a Connecticut error, a big Kami Nethersole spike, their opponents being unable to return an attack, a Michelle Cordell smash, the Huskies unable to return another attack, a serve out of bounds, a Cordell block, some sort of error on Connecticut, Hallie Fullagar’s service ace which dropped in, two successive Connecticut errors, Erin Macro’s cross court smash, and another big kill from her soon afterward, she later served up a service ace, and a Connecticut serve out of bounds was point 15.
The Huskies picked up their points from a Hartford attack out of bounds, a kill after that, another Hartford error, a block, Rebecca Murray receiving a set and spiking it over the net, a blast form Jordan Kirk, another Murray kill, a Samantha Arriaran whap in, another kill later on. A Kirk service ace off the hands of the defenders, another Murray kill this time to the corner, a Murray ace off an apparent miscue, another attack later which the Hawks were unable to return, Lauren Lamberti’s blast off the defense, and Kirk’s slash down the line. Jessica Isaac picked up some key defensive saves and digs in the process.
Murray and then Kirk delivered more kills to take the lead, and another Connecticut put came afterward. After some sort of muddle Hartford regained a point, and Maddison Molyneux followed it with a smash, Sydney Scott and Cordell then stuffed a U of C attack with their block. A long rally battle ensued, with Murray’s kill ending the slugfest. Molyneux responded sending a rocket down the line to the corner. Danielle Etta added a service ace and the score was 20-19 Hartford. Connecticut called a time out. Murray came out of the stoppage with another kill, but Sarah Boss’s spike just in bounds regained the lead for the Hawks. A Connecticut attack out of bounds added to the lead, and Macro pounced on a Huskies overpass to lead to a 23-20 score and another Connecticut time out. This time it was Lamberti striking with a slam off the block, though on the ensuing play Cordell and Macro shared a block. Mattison Quayle fired back with a kill, but Macro’s big time spike ended the set 25-22. Hartford 1, Connecticut 0.
Set 2 would also open with each team getting out to similar scores of 14-14. Hartford picked up points off the first play of the game, Lindsay Ford used a fake set to put over the ball to a gap in the defense, a Connecticut serve out of bounds added another, Nethersole tapped the ball to a gap, and following a good dig by Etta, another point was scored, Ford set the ball up and Cordell whapped it home for another point, a U of H block had the Huskies hit the ball four times, and a spike into the net added another Hartford point (Connecticut called a time out at that point.), later the U of C couldn’t return another attack, and Macro had a titanic kill hit just in bounds, Molyneux walloped the ball of a dig attempt, and Nethersole and Macro had a shared block as well, Nethersole knocked an attack of the defense, and a Husky serve into the net was point 14.
Connecticut scored off of a kill, a Quayle ace, another kill following a Isaac save, a Kirk spike that bounced off the defenders, Chauntay Mickens’s kill which hit numerous Hawks before sailing out of play, a Murray kill off another set, a Allison Nickel spike, Arriaran’s fake set working it’s magic and landing an attack in the gap, a Kirk kill following a good dig by Arriaran, Murray putting down an overpass hard, and later crushing an attack from the net, another point would follow, the Hawks would spike out of bounds, and later, Mickens unleashed a blast which hit a Hawk and landed on the scorer’s table.
The Huskies picked up a quick 3 point lead off of Arriaran and Nickel’s block, and two attack errors by the Hawks leading to a time out by Hartford. Connecticut served into the net when play resumed, but got right back to scoring with a Mickens kill, Nickel block, and a Nickel reply to an overpass. Hartford called a second time out with the score 15-20. Molyneux picked up a kill, but Mickens responded, and Arriaran added a tip over the net after that. Two attack errors by the Huskies lead to another time out, but Kirk blasted an attack over the net to put her team within 2 of the win. A serve out of bounds gave another point to Hartford, and Nethersole had a big kill, but the Huskies would pick up another point to be within 1. Nethersole came up with two kills in a row to narrow the lead, but a serve into the net ended the set, 22-25. Hartford 1, Connecticut 1.
Each team had managed to prevent getting swept, but Set 3 would determine who regained the advantage. In this case however Connecticut was usually in the lead throughout the set. The set remained somewhat close with Hartford largely chasing Connecticut but by the 14-18 score mark, the Hawks called a time out. Connecticut had picked up their points off of two Hartford attacks out of bounds, a huge Murray kill, Nickel putting a ball down over the net, a Uc11 kill, following a Arriaran set off a Isaac dig, a Hartford attack error, a Mickens block, a Mickens service ace which bounced off defenders into the crowd, later a Kirk smash, a Quayle kill just within the lines, a Hartford spike out of bounds, another Murray kill, a Hartford error, a serve into the net by the Hawks, a Mickens shot, a U of H serve out of play, and later another, and a Keeley Abram service ace just within the playing area.
Hartford in this time scored off a Ford tap that the Huskies couldn’t return, a Macro blast, a Molyneux service ace, later Macro hammered a ball set to her, and a Huskies error followed, several points later a four contacts penalty did as well. Nethersole hit a ball into a gap, following a U of C run, Lindsay Makowicki picked up a kill, U of C served into the net, and later did again, during an exchange in which each side failed to get 2 serves in play. Macro delivered another kill, Uh15 followed that with a fake set and then a put over, she then added a service ace to the scoring, and Macro’s big kill brought the Hawks to 14.
After the time out though, the Hawks attacked into the net, and despite a good save by Ford, Kirk’s block put Connecticut up by 6. A long rally followed and Cordell set the ball into the corner, but on the next play despite a good dig by Etta, the Hawks had a double contact and the Huskies needed only 4 to win. The Hawks called another time out and picked up a point following that, but Kirk’s kill, and another point placed the set at 16-23. A very long exchange back and forth took place until Ford ended it with another fake set put over of hers. Mickens was quick to respond, and then after that whipped another attack in to end the set 17-25. Hartford 1, Connecticut 2.
Set 4 would not be as auspicious for the Hawks as Connecticut would lead 3-9 and then 4-13 using up both of Hartford’s time outs in the process, The Hawks would score off a Macro kill, a Connecticut attack error, a Cordell kill just in bounds, and another kill by her later on.
Connecticut scored their points thanks to a Quayle spike that went through the blockers, a Hartford serve out of bounds, a Kirk spike, a Quayle crushed kill, Murray’s blast, Kirk’s kill just within the boundaries, and later another kill, a Hartford attack out of bounds, a Isaac service ace, a Murray slash through the D, a Nickel kill just in the lines, a service ace from Murray, and a UHa spike into the net. Connecticut benefited from another Hartford attack out of bounds, though Hartford’s Makowicki had a kill and the team had blocks to bring it to 6-14. Mickens responded with one of her big kills, another point would follow. Makowicki had a blast of her own, but Mickens hammered the ball over and it was 7-17. U of H spiked into the net, but Macro came up with a smash right after. Arriaran’s fake set worked again, and Abram’s service ace slid off the hands of a hawk. The set was 8-20. Hartford went on a run with a Nethersole cross court kill, a Ford service ace, Cordell’s block stuffing an attack, and a Connecticut block out of bounds. Connecticut called a time out just in case.
Hartford served into the net, though Fullagar had a kill, and Cordell followed that with a spike off seemingly four defenders and out of play. Kirk had a kill just in bounds, but a Hawk responded in kind. Mickens crushed an attack though, and two points after that Connecticut won the set 15-25. Hartford, 1, Connecticut 3.
It was certainly a rambunctious way for the two Connecticut teams to end their tournament at Boston College.