The Huskies (10-10, 3-5) volleyball team started off slow this weekend, falling to UCF in straight sets, but came back to defeat USF in straight sets. The score against UCF was (16-25, 18-25, 17-25), while the score against USF was (25-17, 25-20, 25-21).
“We were all very disappointed with Friday’s match,” said UConn head coach Kris Grunwald.
“We were in the locker room for a while after the match searching for answers. After that outcome the big test was how do we respond - similar to our weekend at Houston and then responding at Tulane.”
Each game was completed quickly in just over an hour each. Against UCF, UConn played a game to forget. Redshirt sophomore Kayla Williams led the team with nine kills and 10 digs against a stingy defense. Junior Emma Turner continues to lead the team with assists; she recorded 23 in the contest.
The Knights (10-9, 3-4) had everything working for them. As a team, they blocked a total of 11.5 of UConn’s shots. Kia Bright led her squad with 13 kills, while pacing the game with seven digs. Jordan Pingel set the tone defensively with 11 digs.
After the game, Grunwald said the team had to realize what their goals are.
“We met as a team and the team met on their own, and the focus was really our individual responsibilities as well as the ability to stay together as a team and not let the disappointment splinter who we are,” Grunwald said.
The team rallied together and played a dominant game against USF (7-11, 2-6). Williams did her thing, leading the team with 19 kills and an impressive 17 digs, for her 10th double-double of the season. Turner set the tone with 37 assists and junior Elizabeth Kline had nine digs. The Huskies defense limited the Bulls to a .161 hitting percentage.
Doris Carter’s 10 kills and Alex Mendoza’s 32 assists led the Bulls. However, USF couldn’t get much going against UConn.
“At USF we served well, passed well and played feisty defense,” Grunwald said. “Those things produce good results. That's our goal every day... Once again we responded to a difficult test. I was happy for this group to get that win.”
Grunwald said he wants the team to trust their talent and hard work for the remainder of the season.
“Focusing on the process and not the product is important given our situation,” Grunwald said. “We need to focus on all the little things. If we do that, then we can accept the outcome.”
UConn will be back in action Friday against SMU at home in Guyer Gymnasium.
Michael Logan is a staff writer for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.