Volleyball: Dog Pound Challenge preview  

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Coming off a winning weekend at Dartmouth, the University of Connecticut women’s volleyball team will return to Gampel Pavilion this weekend to host the Dog Pound Challenge. UConn will welcome Bryant, New Jersey Institute of Technology and Yale to Storrs for the final non-conference play tournament of the season, as UConn begins Big East play next week.  

The Huskies’ weekend will start at 7:30 p.m. on Friday when they face off against Bryant, who is currently 5-6 on the season and lost its last three matches. Despite their losing record, the Bulldogs are leading the Northeast Conference in kills per set and assists with 13.1 and 11.9 per set, respectively. If UConn wants to shut down Bryant’s offense, it will have to find a way to shut down Riley James, who leads the team in kills per set (2.5), as well as Alyssa Wright, who is second in the Northeast Conference in hitting percentage (.305). Historically, the Huskies have found success in Gampel when facing Bryant, winning their last two matchups three sets to one.  

The Dog Pound Challenge will continue for the home team on Saturday at 12:30 p.m. when they take on the New Jersey Institute of Technology. NJIT enters the weekend 1-8 on the season, having lost eight straight matches and having been swept in seven of their nine matches this season. UConn has never played against NJIT before, but if it wants to secure a victory over the Highlanders, it must find a way to shut down Juliana Impaglia, who leads the team in attacking percentage (.375) and assists per set (6.29).  

The Huskies will end their weekend with a showdown against Yale, who swept the Stony Brook Invitational last weekend and are currently 5-1 on the season. Gigi Barr claimed MVP honors at the invitational, and her teammates Bonnie Bostic and Mila Yarich joined her on the all-tournament team. UConn hasn’t played Yale since 2016, when they won three sets to none. Yale is currently second in the Ivy League conference behind Dartmouth, who the Huskies lost to last weekend. This match will be the biggest test of the tournament for UConn.  

As we cheer and support the Huskies this weekend, there are two things we should keep in mind and support. Firstly, as is tradition, Sigma Alpha is partnering with the volleyball team to raise money for the Wings of Freedom Animal Rescue. You can donate to the organization at the UConn Dog Pound Challenge GoFundMe to support its efforts to rescue animals in need. Finally, senior Caylee Parker is six kills away from achieving her 1,000th career kill, which would make her the 14th player in UConn women’s volleyball history to reach that milestone.  

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