Volleyball: UConn looks to protect home court against UNH, Iona, and Syracuse


Volleyball will be busy hosting games this weekend (Eric Wang/The Daily Campus)

The UConn women’s volleyball team will host the UConn Challenge this weekend, and will face UNH, Iona and Syracuse.

At this point in the season, the Huskies look really good, and sit at 3-1 through their first four games. The team has won their last two games against Georgia Southern and in-state rival Quinnipiac and will look to carry that success into this tournament.

The Huskies will face UNH and Iona Friday, both of whom they defeated last season. Both UNH and Iona sit at 1-2 on the season, and are coming off losses against University of South Dakota and Eastern Illinois, respectively.

UNH is coached by Jill Hirschinger, who is entering her 21st season as the leader at UNH, and her 37th season coaching volleyball overall. Hirschinger has been named America East Coach of the Year six times, and is the winningest coach in the program’s history.

UNH’s player to watch is sophomore setter Emma Patlovich.

Patlovich has tallied a double double in assists and digs all three games, totaling 111 and 39, respectively on the season, good enough for a first and second place finish on the team.

After the Huskies face UNH, they move on to face the Iona Gaels at 7 p.m.

Iona is led by head coach Patric Santiago, who has been with the team for the past three years, and even led his team to a spot in the MAAC Tournament last year.

The player to watch on Iona’s team is senior outside hitter Claire Archibald.

Archibald had a strong first three games, tallying double doubles in all three with kills and digs, finishing top two amongst the team in both stats. Archibald has a .253 attacking percentage so far, and her offensive and defensive prowess will be something to watch.

After the two Friday matches, the Huskies will go back to Gampel Pavilion Saturday to face Syracuse.

The Orange are coached by Leonid Yelin, who is entering his seventh season as the leader. He has had a very successful coaching career, and prior to coaching at Syracuse, led the University of Louisville team to 14 NCAA Tournaments, including reaching four NCAA Regional semifinals.

Syracuse has yet to play a game this season, but finished last season with a record of 22-14. They will be led by former ACC Volleyball Freshman of the Week and ACC All-Freshman Team, Ella Saada.

Saada is a versatile outside hitter who tallied 168 kills, 21 assists, 178 digs and 33 blocks, including eight double doubles through 27 matches.

The Huskies have a busy next couple of days, but will look to end their homestand with a few important victories to improve upon an already strong start to the season.

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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