The UConn women’s volleyball team will be traveling to Chicago, Illinois this weekend to take part in the DePaul Invitational. The Huskies will face three teams in the tournament: Florida Atlantic, DePaul and Purdue Fort Wayne.
Currently sitting at 5-2 for the season, UConn expects to continue its early success in Chicago. The first match on Friday morning will be against Florida Atlantic, who will enter the day on a three-game winning streak after sweeping the FAU Invitational. Despite their recent success, the Owls still sit at 3-3 for the season. Florida Atlantic’s Volleyball twitter page stated that Cailea Gibbs, middle blocker for the Owls, is ranked no. 1 in the nation in individual hitting. Therefore, UConn will try to plan an attack keeping away from Gibbs. Florida Atlantic is coached by Fernanda Nelson who has been the head coach of the program since 2012, after spending four seasons as an assistant coach at Florida Gulf Coast.
UConn’s second opponent this weekend will be the host, DePaul. The Blue Demons will enter Friday with a 2-3 record as they’ll look to work out the kinks of a slower start to the season. DePaul is led by coach Marie Zidek in her first year as the head coach. Zidek originally was an assistant coach for the Blue Demons from 2010-12. She then spent one season on the staff at Buffalo before heading out west to be an assistant coach for the University of San Diego program who made the NCAA tournament the last four years that Zidek was still present.
The Huskies will finish off the tournament on Saturday against red-hot Purdue Fort Wayne. The Mastodons are on a four-game winning streak, as they’ve turned around a poor 1-3 start into a 5-3 record and seemingly can’t wait to get on the court again and continue their recent success. Steve Florio is the head coach for Purdue Fort Wayne in his fifth season. Florio has been at Purdue Fort Wayne for over ten years, as he was previously an assistant coach for the program. During his tenure as an assistant coach, the team clinched NCAA tournament berths in 2009 and 2012.
Coming off a loss at home in its last appearance on the court, UConn will enter the tournament hungry to get back in the win column.
Sam Newton is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.