Women’s Volleyball: Several new faces enter the court with hopes of a bounce back season

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This Huskies team has been dealt with a ton of adversity, but they have continued to fight with the odds against them. Grunwald said that the team will continue to be scrappy. (Alex Taylor/The Daily Campus)

This Huskies team has been dealt with a ton of adversity, but they have continued to fight with the odds against them. Grunwald said that the team will continue to be scrappy. (Alex Taylor/The Daily Campus)

The Uconn Women’s volleyball team has undergone a pretty big personnel turnover through the past couple of years. This includes the hiring of new head coach Kris Grunwald in 2016, as well as the loss of three players from last year’s team. They include versatile outside hitter Kenya Cason and team-leading blocker Tosin Adeniyi, who both graduated, as well as former All-AAC- second-team player and offensive leader Kayla Williams who transferred to the University of North Dakota this past year.

In order to counteract these losses, Coach Grunwald has brought in six new freshmen, including 3 outside hitters, one blocker, one setter, and one libero/defensive specialist, in hopes that the Huskies can improve upon last season.

Kennadie Jake-Turner (KJ), Middle Blocker/Right Side Hitter: KJ joins UConn after playing 4 years as a part of St. Johns High School Varsity Team. At St. Johns, Jake-Turner received many accolades that have us excited to see what she can do in her freshman year.

KJ was a part of the All-State volleyball team in both 2016 and 2017, as well as being chosen for the All-Southwestern Preparatory Conference team from 2015 to 2017. This led KJ to be put on the 2017 Under Armour All-America Watch List.

Jake-Turner’s versatility on the court is essential, and it will be on full display in her freshman season with the Huskies.

Anna Petrova, Outside Hitter: Petrova is joining the Huskies all the way from Voronezh, Russia.

In Russia, Petrova won gold medals at the Championship of Moscow from 2013-2015. She also won the gold medal at the Eastern European Volleyball Zonal Association in 2015.

After these successes, Petrova joined League-B in 2016, leading her team to a third-place finish. In 2017 they placed second in League-B and were able to advance to League-A.

While in League-A, Petrova and her team finished ninth. She will bring her experience and leadership to help the Huskies in the upcoming season.

Courtney Finkle, Libero/Defensive Specialist: Finkle is joining the Huskies after spending the last two years playing varsity volleyball at Blessed Trinity Catholic High School.

While at Blessed Trinity Catholic, Finkle won the Conference, Region, and State Championships. She also led her team to win the Rally High and Iron Man Tournaments. She did all this while being named club MVP three times.

Hopefully Finkle can carry her success and defensive prowess over to UConn this season.

Courtney Morris, Setter: Morris is a redshirt freshman, and will look to make an impact after not playing in her freshman season. Morris played varsity volleyball all four years at Padua Franciscan High School before joining UConn.

While in High School, Morris accomplished a lot. In 2015, Morris was selected to the All-Conference First Team, All-District First Team, and All-Ohio Second Team. In 2016, Morris did even better, being selected to the All-Conference, All-State, and All-Ohio First Team. During her high school career, Morris and her team were also two-time Ohio Division II State Champions.

Morris has the resume of a champion, and should be a valued addition to the Huskies team.

Caylee Parker, Outside Hitter: Parker, originally from Windsor, Ontario, is joining the Huskies from our neighbor to the North, Canada.

While she was there, Parker played on the U18 Junior Canadien National Team. In 2017, Parker was the captain of this team, and led them to a fourth place finish in the HP Championships. Parker was also a 3 time All-City Volleyball Selection from 2015 to 2017,  a 4-time team MVP, and a 2-time silver medalist at the Ontario Federation of School Athletics Association.

Parker has a lot of professional experience from her time in Canada, and it should translate well to her college career at UConn.

Klaudia Sowizral, Right Side/Outside Hitter: Sowizral spent her high school years playing varsity volleyball in the town she grew up in, at St. Charles East High School.

While there, Sowizral was selected to the All-Conference Team three times, and competed in the Regional Championship during her senior year. In her final season, Sowizral totaled 229 kills, 45 blocks, and had a .349 hitting percentage.


Conner Gilson is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at connor.gilson@uconn.edu.  

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