Volleyball: UConn heads to Florida to Face UCF & USF

The player to watch out for USF is senior setter Alex Mendoza. Mendoza was recently named to the AAC Weekly Honor Roll for the week of Oct. 9. (Nick Hampton/The Daily Campus)

The UConn women’s volleyball team heads to Florida this weekend to take on conference foes UCF and USF.

So far this season, UConn is an even 9-9 overall and 2-4 in conference play. The team is coming off two home losses last weekend against Cincinnati and East Carolina.

UConn’s head coach Kris Grunwald talked about what the team did following those two losses.

“We started the week with some self-reflection, both personally and competitively,” Grunwald said. “We also discussed the importance of staying together through a couple tough losses.  We will start working on a couple specific defensive adjustments that we will make versus UCF to help with their top outside hitter but the focus has been on us much more than the opponents.”

On Friday, the Huskies will take on UCF. The two teams met twice last season, with UConn losing both matches.

UCF also holds a 9-9 overall and 2-4 in the American so far this season.

Grunwald discussed how even though UCF and the Huskies have the same records they are not necessarily similar teams. 

“Our records are similar but we are very different than UCF, especially given our injuries,” Grunwald said. “We play different systems so we each depend on different things in order to be successful.”

UCF is also coming off of a loss after being overtaken by SMU last Sunday.

UCF is coached by Todd Dagenais. Dagenais has been head coach at UCF since 2008. Seven seasons later he was able to take his team to the NCAA tournament. Dagenais was also the co-head coach of the 2016 Collegiate Women’s National Team.

The player to watch on UCF is redshirt senior Kia Bright.

Bright was the offensive player of the week for the week of Sept. 18. She is averaging 3.69 kills per set in 18 matches with a .249 attacking percentage, so far this season. She also has an average of 3.04 digs per set, which is good for second on the team.

On Sunday, the Huskies will head to Tampa to take on USF. USF is 7-9 overall and 2-4 in conference play.

The Bulls are coming off of a 3-2 win against Tulsa. USF came back from a 2-1 deficit to take the match.

Last season, the Huskies lost both matches against USF both in Storrs and in Tampa.

The Bulls are coached by Courtney Draper who is in her sixth season as head coach for the team. Last season, the Bulls tallied 19 victories, and won 10 conference matches. They finished fifth in the American.

The player to watch out for USF is senior setter Alex Mendoza. Mendoza was recently named to the AAC Weekly Honor Roll for the week of Oct. 9.

So far this season, Mendoza has had six double-doubles. She is sixth all time in USF program history with 2,797 career assists.

 “No different approach in going to the weekend, we are focused on our individual and team responsibilities,” Grunwald said. “If we mentally and physically prepare as we should… the opponent shouldn’t matter.”


Mariana Dominguez is a staff writer for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at mariana.dominguez@uconn.edu.