Volleyball: Huskies look to end road struggles

Senior Erika Thomas (11) attempts a block during UConn's 3-2 victory over Temple on October 14th, 2015. The Huskies will travel to Memphis and Cincinnati this weekend. (Amar Batra/The Daily Campus)

After a magnificent home stand, the UConn women’s volleyball team is hitting the road to take on Memphis and Cincinnati.

Heading into their match against Temple, the Huskies were 1-5 in American Athletic Conference play, but have been been able to turn their season around with four straight home conference wins.

“I think there is renewed energy in the gym,” head coach Kris Grunwald said. “We had a great practice yesterday, it was extremely competitive which was fun to see.”

This weekend’s matches begin UConn’s second round of conference play, in which they will play all of the teams in The American for the second time this season.

“I think we are playing better than we were the first time we played these two teams, but in looking at film, they are as well,” Grunwald said.

The Huskies will first visit Memphis (14-9, 5-5 American) on Friday.

The Tigers handed the Huskies their only home conference loss of the season when they visited Storrs on Oct. 4 and won 3-1.

“Memphis beat us with their middles, we need to focus on our middle blockers being more disciplined in our defensive systems to slow them down a bit,” Grunwald said. “If we can limit their effectiveness we think we can handle their hitters.”

The Tigers have had the UConn’s number in the past winning five of the six duels between the teams.

After facing Memphis, the Huskies will travel back toward the Northeast to play Cincinnati on Sunday.

Earlier this season UConn defeated the Bearcats in a five set thriller, in which four players tallied double-digit kills.

“They are very outside-hitter dependent, especially their right side attackers. That poses problems for us as they attack our smaller blockers so we have to make sure we do a good job of staying within the team’s defensive system,” Grunwald said.

Despite defeating the Bearcats in their first meeting Grunwald is making sure his team stay focused, as they will be facing a different Cincinnati.

“They have changed their offensive system, so hopefully we can adjust to that,” Grunwald said.

The Huskies have struggled significantly on the road this season.

“The fact that we have six road matches and four home matches remaining, puts an added emphasis on us needing to find the formula to win on the road,” Grunwald said.