The UConn volleyball team will be going on the road this weekend to take on two bitter AAC rivals, Cincinnati and East Carolina.
The Huskies (13-6, 4-4 American) are looking to get back on track after suffering two tough losses to UCF and USF at home last weekend. It was the first time this season that the Huskies lost two consecutive matches. Cincinnati (12-7, 7-1 American) are currently tied at the top of the AAC with SMU through eight matches and are No. 45 in the nation according to the NCAA Volleyball RPI. ECU (13-5, 3-5 American) are coming into this weekend on a three-match winning streak, including sweeping Tulane and Houston last weekend.
Coach Grunwald told uconnhuskies.com that it’s going to take a lot to be successful this weekend coming off a two game home losing streak.
“Coming off a tough weekend, Cincinnati and ECU will be a huge challenge for us to bounce back and respond,” Grunwald said. “Not only do we need to raise our level of play, but raise it to the level of two of the better teams in the conference on the road.”
Currently, the Huskies have one of the best offenses in the nation. They rank fourth in the nation in kills per set (14.58) and sixth in assists per game (13.62). Redshirt freshman Kayla Williams currently leads the team and is sixth in the AAC with 3.51 kills per set this season. The Huskies will also look to junior Danielle Cabel to be a key factor in weekend after leading the team in kills in three of the last four matches. Historically, the Huskies have not done well against either of the teams they will face this weekend. They are 6-10 against Cincinnati and 2-2 against ECU.
On Friday at 7 p.m. UConn will take the Bearcats of Cincinnati. The Bearcats have an offense that ranks amongst the best in the American. Sophomore Jordan Thompson, sophomore Carly Nolan and senior Ciara Hill all individually rank in the top 10 for kills in the American. They have a hitting percentage of .243 which ranks fourth in the AAC. However, their defense is ranked third to last in the American in opponent hitting percentage (.203) and they’re last in the American in digs per set (13.49).
On Sunday at 1 p.m. the Huskies will travel to Greenville, North Carolina to take on East Carolina. The Pirates have had an up and down season so far. They started the season 10-0, then went on a five game losing AAC streak before finding their way again and beating their last three conference opponents. ECU also has one of the best defenses in the AAC. They rank first in opponent hitting percentage (.147) and blocks per set (2.35) in the conference. Senior Ashley McRae is second in the AAC in blocks per set (1.15) and junior Natalie Montini is seventh with 1.03 blocks per set.
The Huskies will stay on the road as they play Temple on Wednesday the 26 at 5 p.m. in Philadelphia.
Matt Fontaine is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus, covering lacrosse. He can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.