The UConn women’s volleyball team is preparing to host Cincinnati Friday and East Carolina Sunday as it continues its American Athletic Conference season journey. Currently carrying a conference record of two wins and two losses, the Huskies will compete at Gampel Pavilion in an attempt to tip the balance toward victory.
Cincinnati (12-4, 4-0 The American) presents itself as UConn’s hardest challenge in the East Division of The American (8-8, 2-2 The American). The Bearcats have the strongest overall record of any team in The American and are level with Houston’s undefeated conference record so far this season. From their first matchup in 2008 to present day, the Huskies have a 6-11 record against Cincinnati, and the Bearcats have risen to the top in the past four matches between the two.
The Bearcats are led by redshirt senior right side and outside hitter Jordan Thompson, who has completed 363 kills, 161 digs and 23 blocks this season. Sophomore setter Armania Heckenmueller has provided Cincinnati with 672 assists and sophomore outside hitter Maria Mallon has added 201 kills and 159 digs to the team’s impressive strength. The quality of competition faced by UConn Friday is clearly a force to be reckoned with.
On Sunday, ECU (13-4, 1-3 The American) will take the court against UConn at Gampel Pavilion. The Huskies and Pirates have a five-year history of matches together, during which ECU won five matches and UConn won three. The last two matches the Huskies played against the Pirates resulted in losses.
The Pirates are bringing double trouble with junior outside hitter Sydney Kleinman and junior right side Bri Wood who have 196 season kills each. Redshirt junior defensive specialist and libero Brandee Markwith leads in digs for the season with a total of 261, and senior middle blocker Toya Osuegbu brings defensive strength with 53 blocks so far.
On the other side of the court, UConn will meet Cincinnati and ECU with its own set of athletes who will fight to end the Huskies’ losing streaks against the two opponents. Sophomore outside hitter Caylee Parker has continued to lead the team with a record of 203 kills, 149 digs and 23 blocks. Increasing the energy is redshirt junior Genna Florig and her total of 104 kills and 59 blocks so far this season. As usual, redshirt sophomore setter Courtney Morris can be expected to come in clutch with assists for the Huskies. Morris has 485 season assists.
Both opponents lined up in front of the Huskies this weekend are likely to force a rigorous fight out of the team. Coming off a tough loss to Tulane last week, UConn has two more impressively-skilled conference teams to face and an opportunity to make a bigger name for itself within The American.
Judah Shingleton is a campus correspondent and senior staff photographer for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at email@example.com. He tweets @ByJudah.