Sept. 7, 2012
SPRINGFIELD-- The Missouri State volleyball team treated its largest home crowd of the season to a 25-15, 25-12, 25-23 straight-set victory over visiting Connecticut Friday in the Dr. Mary Jo Wynn/Doubletree Invitational at Hammons Student Center.
The Bears (4-5) were nearly impenetrable on defense all night before 1,017 rowdy fans, recording 75 digs and holding the Huskies (5-4) to an .051 hitting percentage. UConn did not surpass the .000 mark in hitting for good until well after its 100th attempt of the night.
Missouri State used three blocks to open a 6-2 lead in the first set, went up 11-5 on back-to-back Carly Thomas kills, and Christine McCartney and Amber Doolittle added consecutive kills and a block for a 17-8 advantage. That pair teamed up for two more kills and a 19-9 lead, and the Bears fended off a late UConn run with the help of 31 total digs.
UConn committed six errors in helping the Bears to an 8-0 lead in the second period, and the gap was still at eight points when Olivia Brand landed two kills during a 4-0 run for a 19-7 advantage. Kaitlin Jaeger added two straight kills to go ahead 21-8 as MSU hit .312 compared to -.049 for the visitors.
The third set was tied at each point to 8-8 when the Bears went on a 3-0 run to lead 11-8. A block by Andrea Beaty and Kayln Vlasin put MSU up 13-9, but UConn came back within a point at 15-14. Doolittle hit kills for leads of 17-14 and 18-15, and the Huskies again cut the lead to one point at 21-20. The Bears sided out for the victory with Brand, Jaeger, Doolittle and McCartney scoring for the win.
Missouri State ended the match with a .238 hitting percentage and seven players recording at least four kills, led by Brand and Doolittle with nine apiece. Doolittle hit .615 as well, making just one error in 13 attempts. Thomas had a double-double with 36 kills and 15 digs, and Ashley Mason led all players with 21 digs.
The Bears play twice Saturday, beginning with New Orleans (3-4) at noon and closing the tournament against Northern Illinois (5-5) at 7:30 p.m.