by David F.P. [Modest 2008 UConn Volleyball Image Gallery]
STORRS, CT (November 9, 2008) The Connecticut Huskies sent off Seniors Megan Frey and Lorelle Schaub before action began with a tribute and then set to work to take on the Bulls from South Florida. USF was introduced with each starter being encircled by her teammates until her name was called. As Connecticut was announced they tossed small balls into the crowd. But soon it was down to business in set 1.
Connecticut opened up to a 5-0 lead off a Chauntay Mickens put over of a USF set that flew back over the net, a Bulls Antenna contact followed, Mickens’s spike hit the blockers and flew out of bounds and the visitors attacked twice out of bounds before a time out was called. When play resumed Alli O’Connor whacked a kill off the home defenders to get the Bulls on the board. Makia Williams then picked up a block, but Annie Luhrsen and Rebecca Murray had a block of their own on the next play. Jarka Havlickova delivered a kill and the score was 6-3.
The Huskies then rolled to a 12-3 lead following a USF serve into the net Megan Frey and Lauren Lamberti’s tandem block, Mickens hammering the ball on an attack, Luhrsen scored an ace when the ball bounced off a defenders’ dig attempt, Mickens and Frey shared a block, and USF called another time out, only to commit a net error when play resumed. Following that, a UC serve eventually sailed out of bounds and the score was 12-4. A visitor’s net error gave Connecticut their 13th point, but Alli Arbogast responded for her team with a blast through the block and Connecticut was unable to return another USF attack on the next play. The green and white did spike out of bounds and failed to get a tip attack over the net to hand Connecticut 2 points and a 15-6 lead though. Connecticut attacked outside the lines, but Lamberti responded on the next play to get a point right back with a kill. The Huskies served and then spiked into the net on the two following rallies though and the score was 16-9.
Jordan Kirk unleashed a hard spike off a set for a point, and USF attacked out of bounds behind the back line to make it 18-9. They did pick up 4 points though in the next five rallies, off a Connecticut serve into the net, Williams’s smash, a two hit error by Connecticut, and a net error by Connecticut. The Huskies had picked up a point on Luhrsen and Kirk’s combined block, and the score was 19-13. Arbogast and Mariana Thon blocked an attack following that, but Luhrsen’s fake set worked and she dinked the ball to a defensive gap to keep the lead at 6 20-14. Thon had a great defensive save literally standing out of bounds, but Lamberti’s mega spike won the point, and Mickens stuff a Bulls attack to put Connecticut with 3 of the set win, 22-14.
The two teams traded errors, and Arbogast then spiked off a failed Connecticut dig. Cynthia Danthon followed suit with a kill to the defense’s left corner and it was 23-17. The Bulls served out of bounds to make it set point Connecticut. On the next play though despite a good defensive play by Kirk, Allie Boaz came up with a big spike, and a Connecticut four hit error followed the next rally. The Bulls blocked a ball out of bounds though to end the set 25-20. Connecticut 1, South Florida 0.
Set 2 was not be the lopsided affair that set 1 had been. The two teams fought to a 9-9 tie to open things up. For Connecticut, Kirk spiked to the left corner, Mickens’s kill hit the defense and flew straight left out of play, she later would smash cross court to a corner, Frey found a corner as well to whap a ball into, and they benefited from two straight USF balls flying out of bounds, as well as Kirk and Murray tandem block and Luhrsen’s misdirection put over attack. The ball literally flew in a direction I didn’t expect it to go as she spun on a variation of her usual fake set maneuver. Kirk picked up Connecticut’s 9th point with a huge kill. In the same time USF had scored off a Marcela Gugel spike, a Danthon smash, Williams’s hammer shot from the net, a good save by Stephanie Augustavo leading to a Williams smash, which she followed up with a tap from the net for another point, two Connecticut attack errors benefited them as well, as did another Williams mega spike. It had started out in USF’s favor but Connecticut had come back.
The ensuing points to the 17-17 mark were basically a back and forth. Connecticut served into the net but scored on another Luhrsen fake set dink. Following a pair of saves from Luhrsen and Jessica Isaac, the Huskies hit out of bounds, and attacked outside the lines again to give USF a 2 point lead, but the Bulls served into the net and a Lamberti/Frey’s block tied it back up. Luhrsen’s serve then flew right threw the defense to the corner for the ace, but another serve landed just out of bounds. Devon Farrell got in on the scoring where her spike from the backcourt hit a defender and hit the ground, but Williams and Boaz’s block tied things back up and Thon had a fake set of her own which worked to regain the lead, only to have it slip away on a two hit error by the visitors. Williams launched the ball through the blockers for a point, but Murray received a set and hit it off the D out of bounds to tie things up again. Thon responded with a smash to the gap, but Kirk had her own blast in response. Two South Florida errors followed and it was 19-17 Connecticut. South Florida called the first time out of the set at that point but the next point of the match went to Connecticut making things 20-17. Another USF attack just out of bounds added to the deficit and Mickens and Murray blocked for another point. It was 22-17 and the Bulls called time out again, only to attack out of bounds on the next rally. Connecticut served out bounds and despite a great defensive play by Kate Seabaugh and Mickens, the ball ended up landing out of bounds and USF was back within 4. The Bulls committed a double hit on the next play and Frey and Luhrsen combined on the block to end the set 25-19. Connecticut 2, South Florida 0.
Set 3 featured another battle up to the 19-19 mark. Connecticut’s point came off a USF error for point 1, a great save by Kirk didn’t earn a point on a later play, but Frey’s tap over the front line did, as did Lamberti’s heater through the blockers, Kirk hit to the corner, Luhrsen picked up a block, Lamberti’s service ace landed in after a defensive miscue, and Murray’s massive kill flew off the defender and flew several rows into the stands landing one row in front of Connecticut’s President Hogan narrowly missing the chief executive. Another USF error would follow after that, and Mickens blasted off the block and out of bounds, she would later take advantage of a Luhrsen good save to whack the ball over the net, and Kirk used finesse to tap into an area the Bulls couldn’t return it from. Kirk had a block, and Luhrsen killed off a set, followed by Kirk again with a shot to the corner. Isaac’s good defensive save would not net a point following that though. Kirk again pounced her attack flew off the defense’s hands and it would be Murray’s titanic spike that netted the Huskies their 17th point as a prelude to a service ace after that, and Mickens would pick up another spike for a 19th point.
South Florida’s first 19 points came off a Gurgel spike, Danthon spike, another Danthon spike even harder than the last, another point followed, Williams struck again with a blast, as did Gurgel, an a Connecticut attack out of bounds gave them their 7th point. Another Connecticut error would give them an 8th, and Gurgel would benefit from a good save by her teammate Rachele Matos for a kill, and a pair of Connecticut errors followed as well, though a third Connecticut attack out of bounds (looked in bounds to me) added to their point total. Another point came off a Connecticut lift, but the USF offense got back into the scoring with a Danthon hit over, and a Williams and Brittany Castelamare block, another point followed and Connecticut attacked out of bounds for points 16 and 17. Gurgel would score twice in a row to pull the Bulls out of a small deficit.
With the score 19-19, Connecticut took advantage of a USF hit of the antenna and Luhrsen sent an ace just in bounds to the defense’s corner. South Florida called a time out, but uC1 responded with a mega spike and then another just in bounds to put the Huskies up 23-19. Arbogast put over an overpass to a point and Boaz spiked through the blockers, before Boaz and Arbogast teamed up on a block and it was 23-22. Connecticut called a time out and Lamberti again blasted the ball off the blockers to make it set and match point. With the battle going on in the rally it was the Senior Frey with the kill flying off the defense and out of bounds to end her last home game with the last point 25-22.