The UConn volleyball team (10-14, 3-9) showed their grit, but were ultimately overcome by Tulane Friday night and Houston Sunday afternoon at the Guyer gymnasium.
Redshirt sophomore and team leader in kills at 310, Kayla Williams struggled this weekend as she recorded a combined five kills and seven digs. However, junior Iman McGary stepped up in a big way, recording a double-double against Houston with 14 kills and 14 digs. Against Tulane, she had 15 kills and six digs.
UConn head coach Kris Grunwald said McGary made effective adjustments.
“Iman did a nice job today while switching from the right side to left side attacking,” Grunwald said. “She continues to be a solid ball handler and defender, while attacking wherever she is needed. She plays a huge role in the passing and defensive scheme. So, her play has been important in keeping us in system.”
The Huskies came out slow against Tulane (13-11, 2-9) Friday night, dropping the first set 25-18, but they fought back in the second set, winning 25-22. McGary and freshman Ally Barrett each had five kills in the set.
Tulane came out strong in the third set and pulled away, with the final score 25-19. The Huskies flipped the script on Tulane and won the fourth set 25-18. However, Tulane would dominate the fifth set and won 15-8.
Junior Emma Turner recorded 41 assists and 12 digs for the double-double, while junior Kennedy Arundel led the team with 14 digs.
Grunwald said Turner is a huge piece of UConn volleyball and continues to show why.
“Emma is one of the leaders of this program,” Grunwald said. “She is wise beyond her years and helps manage things within the program.”
Tulane was led offensively by Erika Hansel, who had 14 kills. Justine Bowers had 49 assists, while Kaylie McHugh had 16 digs.
UConn came out strong against Houston (9-11, 5-6) Sunday, winning 25-15 in the first set. Houston was able to settle down in the second and third set, winning 25-21 and 25-19. The Huskies refused to roll over and won the fourth set 25-21. Ultimately, Houston came up big, winning the final set 15-11 to secure the match.
Houston’s Sarah Afflerbaugh had a huge for her squad, recording a double-double with 15 kills and 18 digs. Megan Duncan added 16 kills, while Katie Karbo paced the game with 23 digs.
Turner recorded another double-double on 49 assists and 15 digs. Junior Elizabeth Kline turned in an impressive 16 digs in the loss.
Grunwald said he expects the team to continue to progress in the coming weeks.
“Our goals are always process oriented,” Grunwald said. “Whether it be in the technical or tactical aspect, we talk about continuing to improve in the smaller steps, those will ultimately allow us to play at a higher level more consistently.”
Michael Logan is a staff writer for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at email@example.com.