By David F.P. [Modest Image Gallery]
STORRS, CT- Coach Holly Strauss-O’Brien’s UConn Huskies had been on a losing streak of late, but it that came to an end Tuesday night when the U of C prevailed over the visiting Don Ferguson coached Hartford Hawks. The Hawks however gave UConn plenty to deal with during the three sets in Gampel Pavilion.
Set 1 opened with Hartford pulling ahead to a 6-10 tie. Offense for Hartford during that run included kills from Kami Nethersole, Lindsay Anderson, a pair of smashes from Dionna Kirton and another from Kami Nethersole, as well as some UConn attack errors. Uconn’s Mattison Quayle started scoring early, as did Jackie Wattles. Down by four a UConn spike cut the lead to 3, and Julia Hamer and Allison Nickel shared a block, on the next volley, the two sides went back and forth until an attack error by Hartford put the Huskies back within one. Sareeta Nethersole leapt into the air on the next back and forth and came up with a big kill, but UConn would cut the deficit to one again.
Sage Esposito would then step into serve and 3 of her service aces later, the Huskies were ahead by one. Quayle than crushed a ball over the net to continue the run. Before it was said and done the score was 24-17 UConn. Wattles had taken a set and hammered it I, and Quayle added tow more kills, Karson Ratliff also hammered a ball down at the net, and Nickel struck again late. Hartford attack errors also added to the deficit. During this time, Jackie Tamburri picked up a point for the Hawks with a set to a gap, and Sareeta Nethersole sent a ball cross court form the net. UConn also committed some attack errors themselves, including one that put the score at 24-18, but on the next play the Huskies took the set 25-18.
Set 2 opened auspiciously for the Huskies as they rolled out to an 8-4 lead. Nickel and Quayle shared an early block, followed by a pair of Wattles spikes, and a Quayle hack from the net. Later Ratliff launched a rocket for another point. Hartford picked up a few kills including one from Anderson and one from Kirton.
UConn kept rolling though as Ratliff had another big kill, Nickel would add to her spike total, and then go to share a block with Quayle. A Kami Nethersole kill and a U of C attack error cut the lead a bit, but Quayle and a Hartford attack out of bounds placed the score at 14-9.
After a time out Hartford picked up a head of steam and scored a bunch including a Kami Nethersole kill, Tamburri faking a set and sending an attack into the zone, Kami Nethersole served up an ace, Sareeta Nethersole whipped the ball through a block, and then did so again on a rally in which she saved a ball from going out of bounds with a backhanded hit, which then Michelle Cordell saved as well. UConn had managed only two points in this time, and when Kirton and Cordell came up with a block the score was 17-15. This time the Huskies called a time out.
When played resumed the home team picked up 3 quick point, including two from Nickel and one from Ratliff. Sareeta Nethersole responded with a kill, and an attack error on UConn’s part made the lead 21-17, but UConn would not give up another point. Nickel and Hamer had a tandem block, and then the dangerous Esposito served up her fourth ace of the night to take the set 25-17.
To set 3 the two teams went and despite an early tie, UConn pulled out to a 10-4 lead . This included points from Quayle, Wattles, and Ratliff Hartford didn’t manage much offense early either. UConn kept going wither another kill from Ratliff, and an ace from Wattles. When a Nickel kill landed just within the lines the score was then 15-7. Two kills from Kami Nethersole cut the deficit slightly, but two attack errors by Hartford erased the gains, though Kami Nethersole would strike yet again off the blockers, however Wattles would use a light touch then share a block with Angela Roidt, which was then followed by a kill from Quayle, and yet another kill from Wattles responded to yet another Kami Nethersole kill. The score was now a dire 21-11. Sareeta Nethersole didn’t care and blasted it through the block Tamburri hit the ball into the gap and a string of errors later it was 23-15. UConn however gave up a few points, but Colby Billhardt ended that streak with her kill, and before long it was 24-17 and after that 25-17, to end the set and match.
Quayle had 13 kills on the day, Wattles 9, and Nickel 6. For Hartford Kami Nethersole lead the team with 17, Sareeta Nethersole had 7 and Kirton 5. Tamburri had 24 assists on the day, and Angela Roidt 30 for the Huskies. Esposito had 4 of the team’s 5 service aces, and Kami Nethersole had Hartford’s lone ace of the day. Maving had 20 digs on the day. Kirton and Sareeta Nethersole each had 13 for Hartford. Nickel took part in 4 of the team’s blocks on the day.