The UConn volleyball team picked up one win out of its three road games this weekend. The Huskies started the weekend with a two-game series against Villanova and concluded play Sunday afternoon versus Temple.
Villanova (2-2) darted out to a huge 11-4 lead to open game one. The Wildcats were playing consistently and forcing the Huskies into numerous errors. UConn was never able to get into the first set as Villanova was perfectly executing their shots and dictating play. Villanova quickly secured the opening set, 25-14 off Clara Delaplane’s fourth kill.
The Huskies (2-4) remained calm and produced a dominant set of their own in set two. UConn jumped out to a 7-2 lead forcing Villanova to call a timeout. The timeout was not effective for the Wildcats, as the Huskies continued to cruise in set two. UConn kept piling up kills causing Villanova to go for too much on their serves. The Wildcats played a sloppy second set, posting a dismal -.028 attacking percentage. Allie Garland was able to wrap up an exceptional second set for UConn 25-13.
Set three was significantly more competitive than the first two sets. The score was tied on seven different instances in the third set. Villanova held small advantages throughout the majority of the set, but UConn kept fighting back. The Wildcats utilized an Emily Curtis ace to capitalize on their second set point and capture the tight third set 26-24.
The Wildcats were in control throughout the entire fourth set. Villanova never trailed in the final set and held seven-point leads on two separate occasions. A Jasmine Davis service error concluded the fourth set 25-21 in favor of Villanova.
In the first game of the series, Villanova notched 10 more assists and eight more kills than UConn. Caylee Parker led the Huskies in kills with 14 and digs with 16. Riley Homer and Kathleen Johnson collected the most kills for Villanova with 11 apiece.
Villanova came out of the gates strong in game two. After going down 2-3, the Wildcats went on an 11-1 run to take a commanding 13-4 advantage. The Wildcats were striking the ball effectively and not giving anything away. Homer emphatically closed out a convincing first set for Villanova 25-19 with a kill.
Set two went back and forth in the beginning, with the Huskies keeping their nose in front. UConn did an excellent job not allowing the Wildcats to obtain many points off of their serves. The Huskies displayed a strong combination of offense and defense to pull away in the middle of the set. A Delaplane service error gifted UConn the second set 25-19.
The Wildcats rebounded nicely, winning 12 of the first 18 points in set three. From that point on, UConn started focusing better and cutting back on their mistakes. The Huskies began getting kills from a variety of players and benefited off of some miscommunication by the Wildcats. UConn received two errors from Villanova to finish the third set, 25-21.
UConn carried its momentum into the fourth set, going on a few 3-0 runs to hold an 11-5 advantage. Villanova looked out of sorts, and the Huskies pounced on the golden opportunity. UConn went up by as many as nine points during several instances throughout the set. Parker was able to execute a sensational kill off a Courtney Morris assist to finish the set, 25-20, and split the series with the Wildcats.
Villanova’s Homer concluded the series with the most kills with 29, while UConn’s Parker finished just behind her with 27. Genna Florig ended with the most blocks with 10, and Averi Salvador notched the most digs with 37.
The Huskies closed out the weekend with a four-set loss at Temple (7-4). This marked the second time this year UConn fell short against the Owls.
After Garland scored the first point of the match for UConn, Temple reeled off nine unanswered points. Katerina Papazoglou was firing fantastic serves and coming up with emphatic kills for Temple. The Owls went up 12-2 before UConn began chipping away at the lead. The Huskies cut the lead down to three, but then made costly mistakes to fall back behind 14-21. UConn was able to save four set points before Papazoglou posted a kill to end the set 25-21 in favor of Temple.
Both teams went on 4-0 runs to kick off the second set. The set was highly competitive, with Temple holding a slight advantage throughout its entirety. The Owls were able to come up with a few more kills and defensive plays, which was the only difference in the set. A kill from Miray Bolukbasi sealed the second set for the Owls 25-23, giving them a two-set advantage.
The third set panned out very similar to the second set. Both teams were striking the ball effectively and minimized their mistakes. This time around, it was the Huskies who were able to maintain a minor lead throughout the set. Florig played a remarkable set coming up with critical plays for the Huskies, including four kills. An attacking error by Taylor Davenport wrapped up the third set, 25-22 for UConn.
The Huskies opened the fourth set with a 4-1 lead before the Owls went on a 9-2 run. UConn was able to snatch the lead back at 12-11, following sensational offensive plays by Parker. The lead did not last for very long as Temple quickly pulled ahead 15-12. The third set was incredibly tight until the latter stages. With Temple up 20-18, the Owls won five consecutive points to take the fourth set and the match.
Overall, the Owls notched 14 more kills and nine more digs than the Huskies. Bolukbasi had an exceptional day for Temple, recording 16 kills as well as two aces and blocks. Parker led UConn in kills with 13, while Aset Baker-Falealili was the team leader in digs with 19.
UConn will look for another conference victory this Friday when they go on the road to take on Providence (3-1).