By David F.P.
STORRS, CT- In their pursuit of their first Big East win of the season the University of Connecticut Huskies had two opportunities this weekend. The first was against the Seton Hall Pirates, and in a 5 set contest the Pirates kept the Huskies from that goal in an incredibly close meeting between the two conference opponents. Coach Kris Zeiter brought in the Pirates to take on Holly Strauss O’Brien’s UConn team on a Friday night in Gampel.
Editor’s Note: As is the case with all my reports, the offensive efforts are the most straightforward to chronicle as they directly result in points, however this does not diminish the defensive efforts, and the assists that set up the offensive plays, they are just much harder to follow. They are noted when possible. It’s a team game with everyone on the floor playing a key role.
Set 1 went in favor of the Huskies as they picked up a 25-22 win.
Highlights for the home team included a good dig by Kelsey Maving helping set up Jordan Kirk’s first kill of the day, Morgan Freeman added a tap over soon afterward, Rebecca Murray’s cross-court attack just in bounds gave them a lead, Maving had a great diving save not long after that though SHU picked up a point, Murray whapped the ball off a Pirate and out of play, and spiked a kill in for UConn’s next point, Angela Roidt’s backward hit over the net earned perhaps the most style points of the night, and Kirk served up an Ace not long, Murray and Freeman shared a block, and Murray struck twice in a row first with a tap over and then with a big spike, after a back and forth of points, Kirk put down an errant Seton Hall overpass, and had a solo block on the next point, Maving’s service ace continued the lead building, Mattison Quayle got in on the scoring with a tap over the block, and Kirk had another good save though not for a point, but she whammed the ball off the blockers for a point right after, Roidt’s attakc was not returned, and Freeman spiked the ball into the back to end the set..
And for the visitor’s Meghan Matusiak’s whap opened the scoring for the Hall, and she along with Krissy Wrobel shared a block, Wrobel then teamed with Sarah Osmun on another block, and Alyssa Warren served up an ace for a kick lead, Hannah Hugeback later won a battle at the net for another point, and a block from her was the next point of the set, Matusiak launched a kill down the line, the set continued to be a back and forth affair, Osmun hammered a kill from the net, and Hugeback added a smash from the net as well. UConn pulled out to a lead, and Morgan DeVries great diving save kept the ball in play until they could notch a point, and Matusiak’s next spike hit a defender and went far out of play, DeVries and she then shared a block to pull within 1, and Matusiak actually scored a point to take the late, though UConn then closed it out.
In Set 2 was a razor thin set to say the least with the score tied at 23 before Seton Hall picked up two quick points for the win.
For the Pirates, Osmun and Wrobel had an early shared block, Matusiak had a jumping smash in right after, a few points passed and she whisked it through the Huskies defense for another point, Hugeback sent the ball flying on the opponents and out of bounds, later a cross-court kill was unleashed from her hands, and she served up an ace immediately after that, Osmun had a HUGE spike for their 15th point, and Matusiak wasn’t far behind her with a kill, on the ensuing play despite the teams massive hustle to keep the ball in play they were not successful, Hugeback’s tap over kept the lad at 3, and her kill ricocheted off the blockers a few rallies later, Osmun broke the team out of a tie, and it was Matusiak, and Olivia Trudeau each striking to take the win in the set.
As for the Huskies, Freeman’s kill opened up the scoring, Roidt landed a turning attack over, Quayle’s spike bounced off blockers, Murray unleashed a blast, Freeman received a set and hurricaned it over the net, Kirk served up an Ace a few points later, and crushed a kill later sending the ball off the defense and way over the bench, Roidt came up with the ace and Murray’s attack came in just in play, points later Kirk came up with a block, and then a hammered shot through the opponents block attempt, she was responsible for the team’s 19th point with a massive kill, and Murray’s cross court kill wasn’t long to follow, Roidt hit the ball over at the net to take the lead, and Murray struck one more time before SHU took the set.
The Pirates picked up the set 3 win as well with a 25-23 score as well in another close one.
For SHU DeVries ended U of C’s opening scoring run with a spike through the blockers, followed pretty quickly by a block, and a tap over as well, Matusiak had a big time spike for the 6th point, and Osmun received a set and crushed it in, Matusiak continued to score with a service ace, and Wrobel’s spike hit a UConn player on it’s way out of play for another point, Matusiak struck yet again, Hugeback ‘s attack was not returned as well, Trudeau came up with a kill as well, Osmun’s tape over the block gave her team a lead, Trudeau set the ball over with success, and Hugeback’s attack kabonged off the defense and out for a 3 point lead. Wrobel’s tap over added to it, Hugeback would added a kill, and then find a gap to slap the ball into. With the score tied, Osmun blasted it through the defense, and was responsible for the next two Seton Hall kills to take the set.
As for Connecticut, Freeman opened the scoring, Kirk joined in, and then added another, later Murray added to her kill total, Roidt and Nickel shared a block, and Julia Hamer’s service ace occurred when the ball hit the and dropped lightly in, Nickel used a light touch to send her attack over the block wall, Quayle’s kill followed, Kirk added a tap over, and Quayle typhooned the ball over and in, Freeman tied the set at 14 before Seton Hall started their run, Cayla Broadwater’s smash helped to break that run, and she smashed the ball over to pull the team within one, Kirk’s big kill kept the Huskies in it, and Freeman kablammed the ball off a pirate, later Kirk and Freeman’s block was the last point for U of C in the set.
In Set 4, with the Huskies in need of a win to stay alive, they responded by breaking a 21-21 tie with four straight points to take it 25-21.
Connecticut’s highlights included Murray’s kill, followed by another not long after, Freeman had a service ace, Nickel’s kill was good for the 7th point, Maving came up with a service ace when the ball hit the net and dropped in, Freeman received a set and just whipped it in hard, then came Murray again, followed by another Maving ace during a big scoring run for the Huskies, after a brief break in the run, Kirk delivered another kill, before Seton Hall started mounting a comeback, though Murray struck twice within that time, and after the Pirates pulled out to a lead her whack in, and her service ace tied it back up, and Kirk tied it back up as the back and forth continued, Kirk’s block for a 22nd point, set off the final scoring run, added to by Freeman’s block, Murray’s kill, and another UConn kill to close it out.
As for Seton Hall, in addition to UConn attack errors, Matusiak hit through the blockers, Hugeback broke U of C’s scoring run with her kill, later DeVries broke a Connecticut run, a few points passed, Hugeback had a kill, and Trudeau had an ace, DeVries had a kill again, Matusiak had a kill, and along with DeVries had a block, DeVries positively crushed the ball, Matusiak added a kill, and a service ace to gain a two point lead, Osmun had a tap over for the team’s last lead of the set, Wrobel tied it up with a tap over but UConn soon took the set.
With the two teams tied 2 to 2 it was time for the fifth set to 15 points. Seton Hall would roll in this one to a 15 to 8 win. This came about thanks to Hugeback’s opening block, DeVries’ good diving save set up a teammate’s eventual smash, later she had a big smash of her own, Wrobel and Matusiak shared a block, and Alyssa Warren served up an Ace, and later Matusiak added a service ace of her own just in bounds. The lead was now 8 to 2, but UConn did mount a comeback, still, thanks to attack errors, a blast from DeVries, a block from Hugeback and a final score SHU took the set. UConn scoring included Freeman’s kill, Murray had a straight kill, and also won a battle at the net, Nickel had a block as well amidst the team’s 8 points.