The UConn women’s volleyball team is back in Storrs to take on UCF on Thursday and USF on Saturday in their second meetings of the year. Head coach Kris Grunwald acknowledged how his team’s adjustments can make an impact between their first and second matches.
“We continue to tweak our lineup in hopes of finding a few different options which will help our offensive numbers and defensive strategies,” Grunwald said.
The Huskies (11-13, 3-8 The American) lost their first match against UCF (20-3, 11-0 The American) in four sets. The Knights are the hottest team in The American right now, having won every conference match on their way to a 17-game winning streak. In UConn’s first match against UCF, they struggled defensively, allowing the Knights to end the game with a .252 hitting percentage including .312 and .323 hitting percentages in the third and fourth set, respectively.
UCF has been led by freshman McKenna Melville who sits second in The American in kills with 4.36 per set. She was able to tally 17 kills the first time they met the Huskies, and will once again be the player to watch in this match. Grunwald is ready for the rematch.
“Playing teams the second time around is a little more settling as you have a better idea of what to expect after playing them just two weeks ago,” Grunwald said. “UCF comes in ranked in the top 25 so there is always an excitement to play a ranked team.”
The first time UConn went up against USF (17-7, 6-5 The American), they were able to walk away with a win after battling back from a 2-1 deficit. This match was a different story for the Huskies, as their hitting percentage ended at .205 for the game including percentages of .351 and .300 in the crucial fourth and fifth sets. Freshman Caylee Parker came up big, finishing the match with 25 kills, giving her some momentum to carry into this second meeting.
In the first match between these teams, the Bulls were led by Junior Jac’cara Walker. She finished the game with a team-high 16 kills, and finished second on the team in blocks and digs with four and nine respectively. Walker sits at fifth in the conference in kills per set, and is the player to watch in this rematch.
UConn’s losing streak currently sits at five, but even with the tough matches ahead, they are hopeful that they can turn that losing streak into a winning streak starting this weekend.
“Even with our disappointing results over the recent matches, this group remains resilient in getting after the next opportunity,” Grunwald said. “We have a great group of seniors that want to end their careers on a high note so they are coming into the gym with the right mentality to focus on the next opportunity.”
You can support the Huskies on Thursday at 7 p.m. and Saturday at 12 p.m. at Gampel Pavilion.
Conner Gilson is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.