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Rutgers and Connecticut face off in a Big East Volleyball Clash

By David F.P. 10-12-08 [Modest 2008 UConn Volleyball Image Gallery]

The Scarlet Knights from Rutgers made their way up to Storrs to take on the awaiting Huskies in Gampel Pavilion. The Huskies were more than happy to welcome them and set 1 started simply enough with a Chauntay Mickens blast off the touch for a  U of C point, but following a good dig by Jamie Godfrey, Victoria Thomas sent the ball flying off the Connecticut defense. Megan Frey responded for Connecticut with a tap over the Rutgers front line, but a serve into the net evened things. Connecticut attacker, Lauren Lamberti’s spike popped off the blockers for Connecticut’s third point, and Jordan Kirk followed up for the Huskies with a blast just in bounds. Following a good dig by Frey, and Libero Jessica Isaac during a long rally the Scarlet Knights were able to score off a Katie Barends tip over the net, to make the score 4-3.  On the ensuing rally the home team’s Rebecca Murray accepted a teammate’s set and banged it home.

Lamberti stepped in to serve and Connecticut absolutely rolled. Later in the play her spike hit block and flew right to the floor. Three Rutgers attack errors followed, Murray blasted an attack to the defense’s right corner and then smacked an overpass back over for another point. Despite digs from Godfrey and Emma Chrystal, Connecticut scored again on the next point thanks in part to an Isaac dig to keep the ball alive.  The Knights spiked into the net following that, and the scoring continued for the Huskies. Following a dig by Kirk, Murray crushed another spike over, and a Rutgers attack out of bounds followed on the next rally.  Annie Luhrsen faked a set and dinked the ball over for another point, and Rutgers smashed the ball out of bounds again. The visitor’s called a time out, but Luhrsen tipped it over for another point.  Chrystal finally ended the run with a smash of her own just in bounds and Barends’s block made the score 17-5.  The Scarlet Knights served into the net to give the ball back to Connecticut, and following a good dig by Frey, Luhrsen tipped another ball over and it was 19-5.  Caitlin Saxton responded for Rutgers with a huge kill, but Mickens responded by hammering the ball over off some opponents to put the set at 20-6. A Knights attack error followed, and amidst a play that had Isaac pick up another good dig, Mickens again crushed an attack off the D.  Isaac again came up with a good save during a long rally, but a Connecticut attack flew awry for Rutgers’ seventh point.  Luhrsen yet again tipped the ball in fro a point, but a Connecticut net error kept the team at 23 points.  Devon Farrell saved a ball for the Huskies after a teammate’s set went in the wrong direction, but Chrystal blasted another kill over.  The visitors served out of bounds making it set point, but it was Chrystal on the next play that hit the ball to the defense’s left corner. Another Connecticut attack went out of bounds, and Barends and Chrystal teamed up on a block to continue to hold off the loss. Farrell and Rutgers’ Hannah Curtis both had good defensive saves for their teams, but Chrystal once again struck through the block. Connecticut called a time out and it worked. Following a pair of good saves by Isaac, Lamberti delivered the set winning kill off the touch.  25-13, Connecticut 1, Rutgers 0.

Set 2 was a bit more of a normal affair. Rutgers pulled out to a 4-9 lead, off a Saxton kill, a handful of Connecticut errors, a Curtis block, and a Kyra Thompson blast off the blockers. Connecticut points came off a Rutgers serve out of bounds, a spike out of bounds, Mickens and Murray’s block, and a Murray kill.  Connecticut came roaring back.  Despite a good save by Saxton, Luhrsen had a good defensive save as well, and Mickens smashed the ball over the net.  Two Rutgers errors later and it was 7-9 and the Scarlet Knights were calling a time out. Godfrey1, and Kallie Pence both had good defensive plays on the next rally but an attack error gave another point to Connecticut. The next rally was a long battle. Pence, Curtis picked up key saves for the Knights and Margot Demere and Luhrsen had key d-plays for the Huskies, before Connecticut spiked the ball outside of the lines. Another U of C attack error would followed, but Rutgers committed two of their own.  Though Connecticut responded to a Saxton smash with a double contact.  Frey and Lamberti came up with a block to keep the home team within 1, but Lauren Voss slammed a spike straight to the Connecticut corner. Lamberti responded with a colossal spike, and Kirk and Murray stuffed a Rutgers attack to tie things up 13-13.

Barends and Chrystal’s block didn’t let the score be tied for long, and a pair of Connecticut errors followed. Despite a great defensive save by Roxy Calder, Luhrsen yet again tipped a ball in for a point.  RU crushed a kill over in response and Curtis’s solo block put the Knights up by 4, 14-18. Connecticut called a time out.

When play resumed the Huskies set a ball over the net by mistake and the resulting overpass was smacked down by Curtis.  Murray returned fire with a blast of her own.  Rutgers spiked into the net on the next rally and it was 16-19. On the next rally Isaac had a good save, but it would be Saxton delivering a kill from back court.  The Scarlet Knights served into the net and the lead remained 3.  On the next play RU 14 and Luhrsen had  good defensive saves for their teams but it would be Frey putting the ball over for a point.

Rutgers called a time out with their lead at 2, 18-20. Play started up and Mickens sent a rocket flying off several defenders.  Lamberti that tapped a ball over the blockers and the score was tied 20-20.  On the next long rally battle, Godfrey had a good dig, but it was Frey whapping the ball over off a good set.  Calder responded with a blast off the block, but Frey had her own kill in return. The teams traded errors back and forth twice and the score came to rest at 24-23 Connecticut.  Another error by the home team tied the score at 24-24.  The visitors attacked cross court and out of bounds, but Saxton saved the set with a spike off the defense and out. Kate Seabaugh had an overhand dig for Connecticut on the next rally and Luhrsen hit it over for the point.  Mickens then crushed an attack over.  Thompson saved the set with a kill off the Huskies, but Mickens again rocked the ball over.  Thomas responded and the score was 28-28.

The Scarlet Knights spiked into the net, but Connecticut served out of bounds to bring the score t 29-29.  Mickens yet again struck with a kill, and Rutgers attacked outside the lines to end the set, 31-29, Connecticut. Connecticut 2, Rutgers 0.

Set 3 opened up with an Annie Luhrsen Ace, though a second serve flew out f bounds.  Chrystal then knocked a spike off the defense, but a Rutgers attack error evened the set. Chrystal unleashed a big time kill, but Frey had a block to tie the set back up.  It was Chrystal whacking the ball off the block, and a Connecticut attack out of play gave Rutgers a 2 point lead 3-5.  The Scarlet Knights served out of bounds and the lead was back to 1. A long rally followed with Isaac picking up a handful of good digs, and Voss doing the same for her team. Eventually a visitor delivered a kill, but RU spiked into the net on the next play. Saxton extended the lead again and Barends slammed down Connecticut overpass to put the lead at 3, 5-8. Connecticut called a time out.

Play resumed and Rutgers attacked out of bounds despite a good save by Thompson earlier in the rally. On the next long battle, the Knights hit into the net though Calder faked a set and dinked the ball into the Connecticut zone to keep the lead at 2.  Mickens picked up the next point when she whapped the ball through some blockers. A Rutgers two contact error followed, but the Huskies committed three errors in a row in return. Saxton then served up an Ace which bounced off the defenders.  Another Connecticut overpass was sent back return to sender by Barends as well.  The visitors served out of bounds but the score was now 10-14.

Barends and Chrystal picked up a block though their team served out of bounds on the next Rally.  Seabaugh then launched a kill just in bounds for Connecticut, and the Scarlet Knights served out of bounds. The three straight Huskies points lead to a 13-15 score and a Rutgers time out. Another RU return went out of bounds, and following that despite a good save by Saxton, Connecticut delivered a kill and the score was tied 15-15.

On the next rally Godfrey had a good dig, but Isaac did as well and Seabaugh tapped the ball over the front line for another point. Kirk and Murray teamed up on a block, and Frey served up an Ace which bounced off a dig attempt.  It was 18-15, and Rutgers called another time out with the set and match on the line.

Seabaugh and Murray teamed up on a block to extend the Connecticut lead. On the next play Rutgers tried a tap over but Seabaugh was there to dig it. She then tamed up with Murray again on a block to win the point. The Huskies attacked out of bounds, but Kirk unleashed a spike off the Knights and out. Thompson had her own blast in return, but Kirk then sent another shot just in bounds and the score was 22-17. Mickens had a good save on the following rally, and Luhrsen attacked for a point. Mickens then blasted an attack and the dig failed. The Huskies spiked out of play, and Saxton spiked just in bounds, but Murray slashed a kill just in bounds to end the set and match 25-19, Connecticut 3, Rutgers 0.

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