The UConn volleyball team (5-4) will be traveling for the second consecutive weekend, this time to Peoria, Illinois for the Bradley Invite. There, they will take on the University of Missouri-Kansas City (4-6), Bradley (3-7) and Grand Canyon University (4-5).
UConn head coach Kris Grunwald has praised his team’s resiliency after injury and they were forced to overcome yet another injury during the match against Villanova.
“We had another player go down with a season-ending injury during the Villanova match on Friday night,” Grunwald said. “So, once again we were battling the opponent as well as the emotional factor involved when that happens to a teammate during a match. But, we did regroup and battle against Princeton, who is a very solid team.”
The Huskies will open their weekend against UMKC Friday at 1:30 p.m. The Kangaroos are led by Alicia Harrington, who is their most well-rounded player as she has 113 kills and 117 digs for the season. Alli Schomers and Rhegan Spiegel are special players as well. Schomers leads the team with an impressive 272 assists, while Spiegel has 136 digs and 34 assists.
As for traveling in consecutive weeks, Grunwald is not worried about fatigue at all.
“Travel for us is a constant, I don't think it affects us that much,” Grunwald said. “Even in high school while playing club volleyball our players [were] accustomed to traveling to different parts of the country each week to compete. So, it's a big part of the culture of the sport.”
UConn will take on Bradley on Friday at 7:00 p.m. for the nightcap. Bradley took down the Huskies’ conference rival Memphis in four sets. Bradley has several talented players including Hannah Angeli, Erica Haslag and Yavianliz Rosado. Angeli is a balanced player, leading the team with 408 assists to go along with her 44 kills and 134 digs. Haslag leads the team with 196 kills and Rosado leads with 222 digs.
As for the Huskies, they are led by Emma Turner, who just recorded her 300th assist. Kayla Williams leads with 109 kills and has accumulated 80 digs, which is second only to Kennedy Arundel’s 123.
Grunwald said he has been impressed with Turner’s production this season.
“A big key to our efforts thus far has been the progress of our setter Emma Turner,” Grunwald said. “She is a junior and has great leadership qualities. She has also been thrust into a completely new system due to the injuries and has done a great job progressing within that role.”
UConn will close out against GCU Saturday at 10:30 a.m. GCU took down the Huskies’ former Big East rival Syracuse earlier this season in four sets. However, they are on a three-game losing streak and will be looking to end that. They are led by Claire Kovensky, who has 105 kills and 112 digs.
Grunwald said the team is focused on cleaning up its game going into the weekend.
“Everything in practice during the short week has been focusing on us,” Grunwald said. “We will watch film on opponents tomorrow after practice in the hotel, but our biggest focus is on our side of the net. We have new faces playing new positions, while still learning our system. So, we have been very elementary this week in going back to some basics. We are going to try and focus on our style of play, creating a relentless style of play, and our personal responsibilities within the system.”
Michael Logan is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.