The UConn women’s volleyball team earned a spot in the Big East Tournament after Providence was forced to withdraw due to COVID-19 issues within their program. The Huskies came in as the second seed from the East division and took on the Creighton Bluejays (12-3).
Creighton took command early in the first set. The Bluejays utilized a 7-0 run to earn a quick 9-3 lead out of the gates. The Huskies stayed focused and were able to string together consecutive points on a few occasions to cut the lead down to three toward the end of the set. Creighton continued with their aggressive mindset throughout the entire first set and grabbed it 25-20, from an Annika Welty kill of an Ally Van Eekeren assist.
It was the Huskies in set two who raced out to an 8-2 lead and caused the Bluejays to call an early timeout. Genna Florig played a sensational set for the Huskies, registering three blocks and four kills for the Huskies. UConn crushed 10 kills and took advantage of attacking miscues from Creighton to earn a strong 16-9 lead midway through the set. From this point on, the Huskies began committing more errors, and the Bluejays were able to cleanly finish more points.
At 22-17 in favor of UConn, it seemed like the Huskies were going to be able to tie the match up at a set apiece, but this would not be the case. Creighton went on a 5-0 run to tie the match up at 22-22 before an attacking error by Kiara Reinhardt gave the Huskies back a slight one-point edge. The Bluejays were able to wrap up the second set 25-23 in their favor, off a Jasmine Davis error and two Keeley Davis kills.
The third set began with tons of powerful strikes and minimal errors from both squads. It was a must-win set for the Huskies to stay in the tournament, while Creighton was trying to book their ticket to the Big East Finals for the seventh time in eight seasons. Receiving serve with a 13-11 lead, the Bluejays were able to make a strong push to extend their lead and take complete control of the third set. Well-executed serves from Ellie Bolton gave Creighton an 18-11 lead and forced UConn to call a timeout. The Huskies battled well at the end of the set, but the Bluejays prevailed 25-18, off a Kiana Schmitt kill.
The Huskies concluded their first season back in the Big East conference with a 4-7 overall record. The team got to compete in a Big East Tournament game and can take many positives away from the abbreviated season. UConn will definitely set its sights on winning a game in the Big East Tournament when next season rolls around.