By David F.P.
STORRS-CT- It was senior day at UConn and with a good crowd on hand the Huskies celebrating the careers of their three seniors, Devon Farrell, Chauntay Mickens, and Jessica Isaac. All three would play key roles in the match that was to follow although it would end being a loss. The Pittsburgh Panthers came into town coached by Toby Rens to take on Holly Strauss-O’Brien’s Huskies in the ongoing Big East slate. The visiting Panthers would manage to sweep the U of C in three straight sets.
As always I am able to note more offensive plays then defensive, but I try to note defensive contributions when I can.
In set 1, the Panthers narrowly pulled ahead of the Huskies and the home team gave chase but were unable to catch up especially after the 12-15 mark and Pitt would take the set 25 to 17.
Pittsburgh’s points resulted from a Connecticut serve out of bounds, a Meagan Dooley kill off the set from the net, another cross court kill from her later, a kill from Amy Town which flew off a dig and out of bounds, Imani Harper’s kill to the back gap, following a good diving save by Michelle Rossi, Town flew through the air with a flying dive to keep the ball in play and despite numerous great defensive plays by Jessica Isaac eventually Connecticut spiked out of bounds, Melissa Stadelman launched a blast, Harper had a whap from the net with a set in, and later a kill off several defenders. Harper and Rachel Kalberer teamed up on a block as well, and another point followed, a Connecticut tap attack didn’t make it past the net, and Kalberer sent a kill off the blocker’s fingertips. A two hit penalty on Connecticut was called despite a good dig by Samantha Arriaran, Stadelman sent a rocket off a set, Dooley hit one to the back gap, a Connecticut spike out of bounds, Dooley’s blast from the net after receiving a set, Dooley and Allyson Hodnik’s block, Dooley’s spike from the net, Town’s cross court kill, Town and Harper’s tandem block, Harper had a light kill into the backcourt, Stadelman struck again, and after a good play by Rossi, Town sent a kill in to end the set.
Connecticut scored off a Pitt serve into the net, Kelsey Maving’s service ace when a defensive dig failed, Arriaran fake set the ball to a gap in the defense, Rebecca Murray sent a kill through the blockers, and later tapped a ball over the front line, Devon Farrell’s kill deflected off the blockers to the floor despite an earlier save by Rossi, Mattison Quayle and Allison Nickel shared a block, Pitt had a four contact error, Nickel struck again, Quayle sent a kill just to the defense’s left corner, Chauntay Mickens and Murray stuffed a visitor’s attack with a Block, following a good dig by Isaac, Quayle delivered a kill, Pitt committed a lift, and later attacked out of play, another good dig by Isaac was part of the set up for Murray’s kill off the blockers back over and out of bounds, a Pitt serve out of bounds, and a serve into a net.
Set 2 started off pretty evenly, but Pitt once again was able to pull out to a small lead and stay there from about the 10-14 mark eventually winning 25-18.
Connecticut points came from a kill just in bounds, Jordan Kirk’s cross court spike off the defenders and out of play, Murray’s cross court smash to the corner, Mickens spike which touched a Panther on its way out, a Pitt serve out of bounds behind the line, a Pitt cross court attack out of bounds, Arriaran’s fake set worked again though Rossi’s diving save kept the ball in play but the team couldn’t return it, Kirk struck again off the touch, Quayle got a running start before unleashing an attack in successfully, Murray took a set and nailed one from the net, a Pitt spike out of bounds added a point, as did a serve out of the bounds by the visitors, Nickel’s had a kill from the net, Mickens added a big big spike, Lauren Lamberti’s spike led the Panthers to make four contacts, Nickel had a kill through the Panthers block, Murray and Quayle shared a block, Mickens added a kill,
Pittsburgh points came from Stadelman knocking down an overpass when an errant UConn pass sailed over the net, Dooley had a blast from the net, and added another two kills soon after, P88 had a cross court kill to gap in the defensive set up, Connecticut hit the antenna on a return, on an ensuing play, the ball sailed out of bounds, but Town reached it and knocked it back into play, and Connecticut eventually spiked out of bounds, Town had a kill that hit a UConn dig and sailed way out of bounds, she added a kill just in bounds in front of the back line, Harper whacked a ball in for a point, Dooley launched a rocket at the net, and added a cross court kill, Dooley’s smash through the blockers, good saves by P16 and Dooley helped set up Town and Dooley’s block, Town later unleashed a hurricane blast, and Harper tapped to a center gap, Town struck again twice in a row including a service ace just in bounds, Harper added a block, Stadelman had another kill off the blockers, a UConn serve out of play and a spike out of play, and Dooley pounced on another overpass, in spite of another defensive play by Isaac, Dooley hacked the ball in from the net, and added a cross court smash to a gap to end the set.
Set 3 featured Pitt pulling out to an 0-4 lead and never looking back all the way to an 18-25 lead.
Panthers points came from Stadelman’s smash from the net, Dooley putting down an overpass, Stadelman’s kill, a Connecticut tap out of bonds, UC contacting the antenna, Kalberer’s cross court spike just in bounds, UConn not returning a serve despite a good dig by Isaac, Town’s kill to the back just in bounds, Hodnik put an attack into the gap, Town and Harper had a tandem block, Stadelman’s kill off the touch, and added another kill, U of C attacked out of play, Dooley picked up a lone block, and teamed with Kalberer on another despite earlier good defense by Isaac, before Dooley unleashed a missile from the net, Town typhooned a shot in, Kalberer had a jumping kill from the net, Town got a head of steam up and blasted the ball in, Harper hacked her attack through the blockers, Connecticut served into the net as well, Jenn Katona spiked through the block, Dooley found another overpass to kill, Stadelman kablammed a spike, and a Connecticut attack out of bounds ended the match.
Huskies points resulted from Quayle winning battle at the net, Nickel and Lamberti’s block, Murray’s kill to the back corner, Quayle and Murray’s block, a Pitt serve into the net, Mickens’s kill, and another soon afterward, and two more after that, Farrell had a big time kill from the net, Pitt spiked out of bounds, Murray got a running start and jumped up to return a set and crush it, Farrell hammered another shot off a dig, Pitt served into the net later, and the Panthers spiked out of bounds as well, Arriaran later picked up a kill as well, Mickens had a kill of the block, and Pitt attacked out of play.