By David F.P.
STORRS, CT- The University of Connecticut Huskies played host to the #22 University of Cincinnati Bearcats Sunday afternoon. It was a close match through each set, but the Bearcats were able to win three straight sets.
The two teams battled to an 8 to 8 tie, then to a 12-12 tie, UConn then rolled to 21-17 lead, before Cincinnati fought back out of a time out to cut the deficit to 23-21. But they then scored 4 straight points to take the set win 23-25.
UConn highlights included Rebecca Murray’s spike to open UConn’s scoring, Murray sent a mid-court attack off a defender’s hands and out of play, Mattison Quayle hammered it through the blockers, Jordan Kirk’s attack at the net hit a Bearcat and dropped to the floor, Kirk hit down an errant Cincinnati set at the net, Murray’s blast just bonked off a back court defender, Kelsey Maving had some key defensive digs in the set, Quayle sent a kill into a back gap, Quayle whisked the ball off the touch to keep the lead at 2, Kirk’s attack hit the Bearcats and flew back over and out of play, Morgan Freeman’s serve bounced off to players to the floor for an ace, Kirk sent another kill off the blockers and over and out, Murray also sent a kill off the blockers and out of play, Murray’s big spike was eventually not returned despite a defensive hustle, Allison Nickel and Quayle shared a block, Maving had a key save though Cincinnati took the point late the set.
Cincinnati highlights included Stephanie Niemer’s spike hitting the UC block and flying out of play. On the next long back and forth she ended it with a whap, Becca Refenes received a set and sent a rocket over, Emily Hayden sent a missile over after a time out, Refenes had a service ace to tie the set at 8, a great save by Emily Macintyre kept a rally alive, but the Huskies took the points, Jordanne Scott tapped a ball over at the net, Niemer sliced a spike to a gap to tie it at 12. Annie Fesl got the team back within 1 with a kill, Niemer just smashed a ball over, Hayden’s missile went off a Husky and way out of play, Juliana Behren’s shot was not returned, Niemer’s medium whack landed in, later she added a precision cross court kill just in bounds, Niemer and Hayden had a block to put Cincinnati within 1, Niemer off the touch.
Set 2 opened up to a 9-9 tie, but Cincinnati pulled out to a 22-16 lead, only to have the Huskies battle back to a 19-22 score. Connecticut would get up to 22 points, before Cincinnati closed the door 25-22 never giving up the two point lead.
UConn highlights included Murray delivering a kill for UConn’s first point, Freeman crushed one from the net, Maving had a service ace when her serve hit a defender and bounced away, Kirk tomahawked it, Kirk’s spike was so powerful it hit a defensive dig and flew all the way back over and behind the back line, Roldt won a joust at the net when Cincinnati had a net violation anyway, Murray sent a kill off the touch to tie the set at 9. Murray uncorked another kill soon afterward, then served up an Ace that hit a Bearcat and ricocheted out of play, Freeman laced a kill in to cut the lead to 2, Kirk whipped one down the line and it hit a defender and out, Kirk’s attack befuddled the D, Kirk typhooned another kill in, she then stepped back to serve and picked up an Ace, she then added another, great save by Roldt to keep rally alive but Cincinnati took point, Roldt and Cayla Broadwater’s block kept the set alive for the Huskies,
Cincinnati highlights included Scott stuffing a UConn attack with a block early on, Niemer patiently hit back an overpass, Niemer unleashed a blast in, Niemer’s serve landed just in play for an Ace, Scott pounced an overpass but it was a net violation for the Huskies anyway, Niemer hurricaned a kill over, Refenes’ attack popped off the blockers to the floor, Macintyre added a service ace to take a 3 point lead, Refenes stuck again to keep the lead at 3, Hayden launched a rocket through the UConn zone, Scott and Behrens teamed up on a block, Fesl had a key diving save to keep a play alive though the Huskies took the point, Turner and Scott shared a block, Scott ended the set with a blast from the net,
Set 3 also opened up with a tie of 7 to 7 in a set with a ton of early attack errors. The score then reached 12-12, but UConn fought to a 16-14 lead, though Cincinnati tied it back up at 16. Cincinnati then took 20 to 18 lead which they never relinquished on the way to a 25-20 victory in the set and the win.
UConn highlights included Murray got a set and whammed it over, Kirk added a kill to cut the lead to 2, Murray launched another blast, Murray blammed an attack off the defenders to the floor, she then stepped back, served and came up with an Ace, her second serve hit multiple defenders but was not returned to tie it at 12, Freeman’s spike hit the blockers fell in, Murray struck again, Quayle then serve up an ace to take the lead, Kirk hit a defender and the ball dropped to the floor, Murray whammed a kill through the block, after a time out Murray had a titanic blast,
Cincinnati highlights included a great save by Missy Harpenau and Fesl to keep the ball in play though UConn took the point, Niemer had another precision spike just in bounds, Hayden and Refenes stuffed a UConn attack, Fesl spun at the net and put over a set to a gap, Scott tapped the ball lightly over the defense, Scott leapt into the air to just hammer a set over at great speed, Niemer delivered a massive shot to the defensive corner, great save by Behrens but the Huskies took a point, Turner blasted a kill off the defense to cut the lead to 1, Scott unleashed another rocket to tie it at 17, Niemer hit a massive spike in, and then added another one, Behrens added a service ace to give the Bearcats a 2 point lead, good save by Macintye helped lead to a Niemer kill, and she added another to a gap, Refenes came up with a block to put the team within 1 of the win, Niemer struck again to end the set and match.
UConn heads to Syracuse and Marquette next week, and Cincinnati ends their trip out east with two Big East wins.