Volleyball faces Memphis and Wichita State this weekend

Elizabeth Klein (7) prepares to serve during the Huskies match against LSU during the Dog Pound Challenge. (Amar Batra/The Daily Campus) 

The UConn volleyball team will open up conference play this weekend when they host Memphis and Wichita State.

After last weekend’s Bradley Invitational, UConn’s head coach Kris Grunwald talked enthusiastically about conference play.

“Looking to the weekend we are excited for conference,” Grunwald said. “This week of practice will still be a focus on our lineup. We are still getting accustomed to missing four players due to injury. So we have to get people more comfortable in new positions and others ready to be able to contribute as well. It's always exciting to start conference, especially when we have a new team in the conference, one that just beat the number nine team in the country… should be fun.”

Right now the Huskies are 7-5 overall.

On Friday, UConn will face Memphis, a team that is also 7-5 but is heading to Storrs after winning their last four matches. The Tigers are coached by April Jauregui, who is in her 10th season in the position.

The players to watch for Memphis are redshirt freshman Natale Zanellato and sophomore Brianna Kadiku. Both players were named to the American Athletic Conference’s weekly honor roll this past week.

After the Tigers won the 2017 Memphis Invitational title last weekend, Zanellato was named to the All-Tournament team.

Kadiku leads the team and the AAC in number of total blocks and she is fifth in the conference in hitting percentage.

On Sunday, the Huskies will face Wichita State, a team that is new to the AAC. So far this season the Shockers are 8-3. They were recently ranked 24th in the Sept. 18 AVCA Top-25 Poll. Last weekend, Wichita State defeated No. 8 Creighton, 3-1.

The Shockers are coached by Chris Lamb, who is in his 18th season with the program. Last season, he led the team to their fourth Valley Tournament Title in school history, which advanced them to the NCAA tournament for the tenth time.

The players to watch on Wichita State are redshirt freshman Giorgia Civita and junior Tabitha Brown.

Civita was named to the AAC Honor Roll for the week of Sept. 4-10. Brown was named the AAC Offensive Player of the Week for the week of Aug. 28-Sept. 3. The award was Brown’s third career conference player of the week award.

UConn’s first match this weekend against Memphis will be at 7 p.m. at Guyer Gym.


Mariana Dominguez is a staff writer for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at mariana.dominguez@uconn.edu.