The UConn volleyball team (9-6, 1-1 The American) opened conference play this weekend with a trip to Texas to take on SMU and Houston. The Huskies went 1-1 against their Lonestar State opponents, sitting at 9-6 on the season with conference play just picking up.
In the match on Friday night against SMU, the first set went into overtime and SMU came out on top 29-27. This proved to be a crucial set for SMU, as the Huskies were able to take the second set 25-22. This amplified the importance of winning the first set to avoid an 0-2 deficit.
The third set went to SMU, 25-17, as UConn only managed to record seven kills against SMU’s stifling defense. The Mustangs’ offense showed up in a big way in the fourth set, as they recorded a .469 hitting percentage, compared to just .093 for the Huskies.
Although the team was not at its best against SMU, senior Emma Turner and freshman Caylee Parker led UConn in assists and kills, respectively. Parker also led the Huskies defensively, tallying 15 digs. Teammate Elizabeth Kline was just behind Parker with 14 digs, continuing her defensive success for the Huskies this season.
Although this was not the result UConn was looking for against an opponent with a weaker record, they were was able to bounce back on Sunday afternoon.
The Huskies showed up in a big way against a star Houston team, which entered the game with a 13-3 record, making UConn the underdog.
During the first set, UConn played with a different kind of energy than they had against SMU. The Huskies exploded on offense, posting a .429 hitting percentage, compared to only .130 for Houston. UConn took the victory 25-16.
In the second set, the Huskies’ defense carried them to another victory, 25-18, as it held Houston to a rare negative hitting percentage. Houston was able to steal the third set from UConn, narrowly avoiding the sweep 25-23. The Huskies took care of business in the fourth set, however, with a 25-18 victory.
Parker once again looked strong for UConn offensively, posting a team-best 16 kills. Sophomore Genna Florig played a solid game for the Huskies as well, recording 14 kills. Florig also chipped in with five blocks, tied ying her with Kennadie Jake-Turner to lead the Huskies. As always, the senior Turner showed up huge for the Huskies, tallying 42 assists and was the only member of the team to record an ace.
UConn played much better against the tougher opponent in Houston than it did against SMU.
The Huskies hope to continue that high level of play as they travel to Temple (4-10, 1-1) for another interconference matchup this Friday night at 6 p.m.
Sam Newton is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at email@example.com.