I arrived halfway through game 2 of the battle between the Huskies with UConn up 16-15. Connecticut had won the first game in what would turn out to be a long match for the two teams. UConn picked up some points, including when Sade Chambers and Rebecca Murray blocked NU’s attack and put the huskies up 18-15. Northeastern’s Kira Batura spiked the ball through the blocks at the next point to put the score at 18-16. Chambers would smash home a big time spike for UConn and it was now 19-16. Lauren Lamberti would tap the ball over the net to grab another point for UConn. But NU’s Britney Brown would spike through the defense to get Northeastern’s 17th point. Murray would respond with a spike off the defense and it was 21-17 UConn.
Two more points would follow for UConn on a Devon Farrell hit that NU couldn’t handle, and Northeastern failing to get the ball over the net on the next play as well. Lauren DeTurk of NU would get a kill when UConn couldn’t do anything to her spike except knock it out of bounds and it was now 23-18. UConn had trouble passing to set up the next return and it was 23-19. Connecticut would hit the antenna on the next play and give Northeastern another point. The visitors would drop the ball in on the UConn D for yet another point before Rebecca Murray would end NU’s scoring streak with a spike off of the defense. With the score at 24-21, a big rally would ensue, ended when UConn’s Kate Seabaugh spiked it into a gap. Northeastern would pick up a point in return with a tap in but would two hit their way to giving UConn another point. It was now 26-22. Seabaugh had another kill, and another right after that hitting it off the defenders at the net. With it 28-22, the Northeastern squad would not give up and spiked their way to 23rd point. The comeback would be short lived when NU served into the net.
With game point at hand, UConn would hit the net, to give Northeastern another point. However at 29-24, UConn hit it in to get the win 30-24. Connecticut would come away with the first two games.
When Game 3 commenced, Northeastern would pick up the first point when UConn hit the ball under the net. An NU error would make the score 1-1, though the visitors would pick up a point when Britney Brown tapped it over the net and UConn couldn’t return it. Lauren DeTurk would gain Northeastern its third point when her spike was knocked by UConn behind them and out of bounds. UConn’s front line would knock the ball over from the net to bring it to 2-3. Brown spiked the ball of the Connecticut front defenders to bring it to 2-4 though. Each team than proceeded to serve the ball out of bounds and Brown and knocked the ball into a gap to give NU a 3 point lead. NU would serve into the net, and Lamberti picked up an ace when NU failed to return her serve. With it now 5-6, DeTurk snagged a kill when UConn couldn’t return her hit. Batura’s attack on the next point bounced off Connecticut and hit the floor. Sarah Stein spiked into a gap for yet another Northeastern point, and Batura and Jessica Tkachuk hit a ball in at the net to make it 5-10.
Annalena Broscheit would drop in NU’s eleventh point, but UConn’s Gina Heiderman would smash a spike into a gap to stop the scoring run. Batura responded with a big time spike which bounced off the D to the floor, but Heiderman returned the favor with another spike to a gap. UConn would serve out of bounds and the score was now 7-13. Sade Chambers would have her own untouched spike to the floor to bring it to 8-13, but Northeastern’s Caitlin Tittl found a gap to smash a kill to on the UConn side. Connecticut would hit a return into the net, DeTurk would smash a kill through a UConn block, and follow it up next point with an untouched spike into a corner gap. Connecticut would give up another point by hitting the antenna and it was 8-18. Chambers would end the scoring run with a spike to a gap with authority to bring the home team within 9. Tittl’s attack on the next play would be knocked out of bounds by the UConn defense, but Devon Farrell and Heiderman’s two untouched spike kills in succession would bring it to 11-19. Farrell’s would make it 12-19. On the ensuing point Libero Jessica Isaac had a big time slide to keep the ball in play, but Connecticut would eventually lose the point. A failed return attempt on the next point put it at 12-21. Northeastern had a block on the next play, but served out of bounds to bring it to 13-22.
UConn would knock the ball out of bounds, suffer a Batura kill, have a 2 hit error, and a second Batura spike, this time to a gap, before they could stop the scoring run with a Farrell spike. The home team picked up another point when NU hit it out of bounds, but DeTurk would spike a shot just in bounds and then a Northeastern serve would shoot over just in bounds as well for an ace. It was now 15-28. Megan Frey attacked for UConn and her spike was blocked but Northeastern couldn’t return the ball anyway. Northeastern would win the next point however to put them in position to win the game. They would lose the next point however. With it 17-29, Lamberti would hit a ball into a gap in the D to bring it to 18-29. The UConn D would block Batura’s attack on the next play to win another point. Chambers would knock a kill in off the D to get UConn up to 20 and another Connecticut attack would bring it to 21. Northeastern would end the comeback with a spike of their own off the home defense to win the game.
With UConn ahead 2 games to 1, I had to depart, but a quick glance at the UConn website shows that they went to a fifth game, in what must have been a hard fought game. It was interesting to see varying styles of play. I’m no expert on the actual strategies, but while UConn seemed to power the ball in a lot, Northeastern seemed to utilize misdirection a great deal. It was certainly an entertaining match.
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