Volleyball: UConn splits weekend road trip


FILE- UConn Volleyball celebrates after a point during a game against USF on Nov. 3, 2018. (Judah Shingleton/ The Daily Campus)

The UConn volleyball team entered the weekend two games below the .500 mark for the year but couldn’t cut into that as it continued its struggle against conference foes with one win and a loss on the road against Memphis and Tulane, respectively.

UConn (13-15, 5-10 The American) and Memphis (11-16, 4-11 The American) entered their matchup Friday evening sitting next to each other in The American standings, setting up a very tightly contested matchup between two middle-of-the-pack teams.

The match was in fact a tight one, as UConn escaped with a narrow 3-2 victory over the Tigers.

To start the night off, however, Memphis’ offense looked strong, posting .414 and .303 hitting percentages in sets one and two, respectively, to take a 2-0 lead.

Surprisingly, in these first two sets, the Huskies recorded more kills – 15 and 16 – than Memphis did – 14 and 13. Yet, UConn committed too many hitting errors which ultimately came back to haunt them. The Huskies remained focused, however, and cleaned up their errors, to come back and defeat the Tigers.

UConn responded accordingly in sets three and four, escaping with a two-point win and three-point win to push the match to a decisive fifth set.

The Huskies and Tigers alternated the scoring in the final set at first. A quick 4-1 run by UConn with the set tied 8-8 put the Huskies ahead 12-9. UConn completed its comeback, winning the fifth set 15-12 and taking the match 3-2.

A confident and hungry Huskies squad hoped this momentum would carry into Sunday, as they faced off against one of the top teams in the conference in Tulane (23-7, 11-4 The American).

The first two sets against the Green Wave were similar to those against Memphis, with the Husky defense having no answer for Tulane’s aggressive offense. As a result, Tulane took the first two sets, including a 25-13 loss in the second set.

In the third set the Huskies were able to pull off a narrow 25-23 victory with their backs against the wall. Another elimination set proved to be successful for UConn, who took the fourth set 25-17, setting up another fifth set to decide the winner.

The Huskies’ defense had momentum go by into the last set, holding Tulane to only seven kills and forcing seven hitting errors in the previous set.

UConn opened up with a 5-0 lead, but Tulane responded with a run of its own, scoring seven straight points to take a 7-5 lead.

Tulane never surrendered the lead again en route to a decisive 15-11 win.

Despite the unfavorable outcome for the Huskies, the team showed heart to come back from 2-0 deficits for two straight games. Coming back from a 2-0 deficit for a second straight game and forcing a fifth set on the road is a very tall task, especially against one of the top teams in the conference.

UConn will hope to take some of the positive moments of this weekend and end the season on a high note with three games remaining. The Huskies’ last three games come at home, as they take on Tulsa, Wichita State and Temple, respectively.

Sam Newton is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at samuel.newton@uconn.edu.

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