The Huskies (9-7, 2-2) volleyball team will take on Cincinnati (5-11, 3-1) Friday at 7 p.m. and ECU (10-6, 2-2) Sunday at 12 p.m. at the Guyer gymnasium, as they look to string together more wins after an impressive victory against Tulane last weekend.
“We came in Sunday to a team that was pretty hot (Tulane),” UConn head coach Kris Grunwald said. “Being able to come out of the match with that W, I thought was a huge statement.”
Redhirt-sophomore Kayla Williams was named to her first American Honor Roll of the season after she carried the Huskies against Tulane. On the season, Williams leads the team with 205 kills, while recording 149 digs and 26 service-aces.
Grunwald said that junior Iman McGary has been vital to the team overcoming crucial injuries.
“She is playing a position she has never played before,” Grunwald said. “We have always had trust in Iman. She is a great ball handler and a feisty payer. She is not the biggest blocker – she just goes and plays hard.”
UConn will open up their weekend against Cincinnati and their star Carly Nolan. She was just named to the American Honor Roll after a monster weekend. Against Tulsa, she recorded a double-double with 18 kills and 15 digs. Against SMU, she recorded another double-double, this time with 20 kills and 22 digs. Jade Tingelhoff has been impressive as well - she has 569 assists and 143 digs on the season.
Grunwald said he is focusing on the team executing their own game plan.
“If we can serve well enough to get them out of their system offensively,” Grunwald said. “And we can narrow their options, it makes it easier for us to defend.
The Huskies will close out their weekend against a talented ECU team Sunday. They have several players that contribute in a big way each game, such as Lael Ceriani, Brandee Markwith and Shelby Martin. Ceriani can do a little bit of everything – she has smashed 199 kills and recorded 126 digs. Martin has set up the offense nicely with 489 assists. Markwith has 317 digs, which is tied for 29 in the NCAA, to go with her 15 service-aces.
“ECU is always a very, very athletic team and emotional,” Grunwald said. “So when you play a team like that, you have to control the momentum of the match. It comes down to serving and passing.”
As for this UConn team’s progression, Grunwald said that they have learned more about who they are as a unit.
“One of the biggest areas where we made strides is who we are as a team, not just what we are,” Grunwald said. “We were obviously disappointed in our performance Friday against Houston, but the biggest message in the locker room after was that if this is a learning lesson and we can be better because of this, then we take this and move forward.”
Michael Logan is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.