The Huskies (8-5) got off to a good start by beating the Memphis Tigers (7-6) in four sets to begin conference play Friday night at a packed house in Guyer Gymnasium.
The Tigers were coming in hot, winning each of their last four games. As she has done all season long for Memphis, Alyssa Kronberg led the team in digs with 18, Faith Myers led the team with 16 assists and Brianna Kadiku led with nine kills. However, they fell by a score of (25-17, 25-15, 21-25, 25-19).
UConn head coach Kris Grunwald said that he was pleased with the team’s conference opener.
“The start of conference play is day one all over again,” Grunwald said. “I think coming out, given our situation that we are in, against a really physical Memphis team – our ability to serve and pass well and take them out of what they want to do, was important. So, overall we followed the game plan to a tee and I think we did a really nice job.”
UConn was led by Emma Turner, who recorded 38 assists – adding to her 400 assists of the season. Kayla Williams continued her reign of terror on opposing defenses as she slammed 18 kills and seven service-aces, to go along with 10 digs. Iman McGary stepped up and led the team with 12 digs.
Grunwald said that the he saw one particular reason why the team was successful Friday night.
“Resistance. The thing that we’ve talked about is that we are still really talented [despite injuries to star players],” Grunwald said. “If we play a feisty style of volleyball then we can compete.”
UConn was swept against No. 24 Wichita State but put up a good fight Sunday at Guyer Gymnasium.
The Huskies were overmatched by Wichita State, and lost all three sets by a score of (25-21, 25-23, 25-20).
Despite the loss, redshirt sophomore Williams slammed 13 kills, Kline secured nine digs and Turner recorded 36 assists.
Grunwald said that Kline is a big reason for the Huskies’ success, even in defeat.
“Liz [Kline] is the heart of our team,” Grunwald said. “If you look for anybody who is the goofball, the energy of the locker room- it’s her. When we are on the bus, if there is someone on the microphone singing and dancing – it’s her.”
The Huskies may have come up short against a tough Wichita State team, but UConn is confident they will rally and be successful this season.
Michael Logan is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.