Women's Volleyball: UConn opens conference play at Gampel

The Huskies, off to their best start since 2007, open conference play this weekend. (Amar Batra/The Daily Campus)

This weekend the UConn women’s volleyball team will host Houston on Friday and Tulane on Saturday at Gampel Pavilion.

The Huskies (9-2) are off to their best start since 2007 as they begin conference play. They enter this weekend after playing in the West Point Invitational where they beat Army last Friday and St. John’s last Saturday, but lost to Albany on Friday. Houston (5-6) is coming off two consecutive sweeps to Yale and Rice in the Rice Adidas Invite this weekend. Tulane (8-4) is red hot coming into this weekend’s matchup, winning five of its last six matches.

The Huskies have one of the best offenses in the nation right now. They rank fifth in Division I with 14.82 kills per sets and ninth with 13.67 assists per set. Last weekend, redshirt freshman Kayla Williams and sophomore Elizabeth Kline were named to the West Point Invitational All-Tournament Team. Williams had 20 or more kills in all three matches, including a career high 26 against Albany. The Huskies are 2-4 all-time against Houston, including going 1-1 in 2015. This weekend will mark the sixth time that the Huskies have faced off against Tulane, with them going 2-0 against them last season.

UConn will face off against Houston at 7 p.m. on Friday. The Cougars have an offensive game that can match the Huskies. Junior Sarah Afflerbaugh leads the team with 127 kills through the first 11 matches. As a team, they rank second in the AAC with 1.72 service aces per set.

Coach Kris Grunwald scouted Houston for uconnhuskies.com and talked about the upcoming match-up.

“Houston has some decent wins; they are a little up and down right now. Last year, we beat them here, but they us down there. Hopefully being at home helps us.

The Huskies face Tulane on Sunday at noon. The Green Wave come into this tournament with as much confidence as the Huskies because they’ve only lost one match in the last six that they’ve played. They are first in the American and 40th in the nation with a .262 team hitting percentage, with senior Sarah Strasner leading the team with a .357 hitting percentage. They are also fifth in the AAC with 2.04 blocks per set. Coming into this season they had eight returning upperclassmen, making it an experienced group.

“Last year, Tulane finished 11th in the conference, but they lost like eight matches in the fifth set. They were probably five points away in each set from being in the top three,” said Grunwald. “They didn’t lose anybody, so that they will be a difficult match as well.”


Josh Buser is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at joshua.buser@uconn.edu.