UConn (11-17, 4-12 American) fell to SMU (19-8, 13-3 American), dropping their second game of the weekend Saturday in Dallas. With a few weeks left of the volleyball season, the Huskies are looking to build toward the future after a season that dealt the team a few blows.
“Yet again we were dealt with uncontrollable circumstances as Tosin (Adeniyi) was unavailable for the weekend, as was Kayla (Williams),” UConn head coach Kris Grunwald said. “It's been a crazy year. So going into the weekend with just eight available we knew we needed other players to step up.”
The Huskies fought to four sets against SMU on the Mustangs home court in Dallas, TX Saturday night. UConn lost the first two sets by scores of 25-21 and 25-17, but the Huskies won the third set 25-22. Ultimately, after fighting back to tie the Mustangs at 20, SMU finished on a 5-0 run to win the match.
Freshman Ally Barrett had a terrific game, as she had a career high 17 digs to go along with her eight kills. Junior Iman McGary has continued her late season surge as she led the offense with 17 kills to go along with nine digs.
However, one player stood out in particular to Grunwald.
“Izzy (Peterson) played her first collegiate match in the middle, Ally (Barrett) played six rotations,” Grunwald said. “Our hero of the weekend was our libero Kennedy (Arundel), playing in her first ever front row experience. She showed what an incredible athlete she is with the numbers she put up.”
Junior Arundel earned the high praise after she put up a double-double with 15 kills and 21 digs against SMU. Junior Emma Turner continues to be a leader for this team and she recorded 49 assists.
SMU, who is trailing only Witchita State in the American Conference standings, were led by a dominant performance by Brittany Adams, who had 18 kills. Montana Watts paced the team with 19 digs, while Kendall Patterson had 46 assists.
Grunwald said that he hopes to continue to build for the future while continuing to be competitive the rest of the season.
“This team played hard and fought all weekend,” Grunwald said. “We were close in both matches and the staff was really proud of the fight and resolve given the circumstances. These are certainly things to build on as we continue to look ahead.”
The Huskies will be back in action Friday at 4 p.m. against USF and Sunday at 12 p.m. against UCF in what should be their first match in Gampel Pavilion after the roof was replaced.
Michael Logan is a staff writer for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at email@example.com.