Volleyball: Big challenge awaits Huskies in New York


UConn volleyball in the Dog Pound Challenge on Sept. 9th, 2016. (Amar Batra/The Daily Campus)

After sweeping the Dog Pound Challenge, the Huskies (7-1) are going to the Big Apple to take part in the West Point Invitational. This weekend, UConn will be playing Albany, Army and St. John’s.

This weekend will be a great opportunity for the Huskies to test themselves against some great competitors. “As the schedule turns out, I think this might be our toughest weekend,” said head coach Kris Grunwald. “Originally we thought it would be the LSU Tiger Classic; but when you look at the competition this weekend, it’s really tough.”

All three teams are off to a great start as Coach Grunwald noted, “Albany is picked to win their conference, Army has a couple great wins over top 40 teams and St. Johns is 8-1 and has gone out west and has played great competition as well.” A win over any of these three teams will improve the Huskies non-conference resume and provide a boost for the Huskies this season.

Despite a 3-6 start to the season, Albany was picked to win the America East Conference in the preseason, and have played really strong competition so far. Albany will improve and get back on track this season since they have a very youthful team, featuring nine freshman and sophomores.

This season, Army is 7-4, on a six game winning streak and already has two wins over Lipscomb and UTSA, two programs that finished No. 51 and No. 64 respectively in the 2015 NCAA volleyball RPI, respectively. The final team UConn will play this tournament is St. John’s who is off to an 8-2 start and have won seven of the last eight matches they have played.

The Huskies have been off to the best start this season since the 2008-2009 season where they started 8-3. This year, UConn has been led by a slew of impressive players, most notably redshirt freshman sensation Kayla Williams. She leads with a team-best 93 kills and 3.58 kills per set. The Huskies on the season has an advantage of 400 kills to opponents’ 250, lead the nation with 15.38 kills per set and is fourth in assists per set with 14.04.

The three matches are Friday at 11 a.m., Friday at 5 p.m. and Saturday at 3 p.m. can be followed on live stats, while the Army game can be seen on the Patriot League Network. Coach Grunwald is excited for the competition, saying, “it’s going to be a fun year and this weekend will be a great prep for it.”

Matt Kren is a staff writer for The Daily Campus, covering UConn volleyball. He can be reached via email at matthew.kren@uconn.edu.

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