The University of Connecticut women’s volleyball team swept the Dog Pound Challenge this weekend, improving to 9-4 on the season as they head into Big East Conference play. Caylee Parker (Senior) made history as well, becoming the 14th player in UConn women’s volleyball history to record 1,000 career kills. UConn will look forward to next Friday, where they will take on Seton Hall for the first Big East play match of the season at the Gampel Pavilion.
The weekend couldn’t have started off any better for the Huskies, as they swept Bryant three sets to none. The first set saw UConn and Bryant trading blows, and at the midway point of the set Bryant led 13-10. That was when the Huskies did what they’ve done best this season and started an electric comeback, tying up the match at 22 apiece. Thanks to kills from McKayla Wuensch (graduate student) and Kennadie Jake-Turner (senior), UConn was able to put away Bryant for the first win of the match. The closely contested match continued into the second set, where a couple service errors gave Bryant an early lead in the set. The Huskies were able to hang around as the set continued, and in typical fashion they exploded late and came back to claim the second set thanks to a 7-0 run. The third set saw the roles reversed, as UConn took a commanding lead early. However, after a timeout, Bryant began an inspired comeback, coming within one point late. However, the Huskies were able to close out the set and end Friday 1-0. Jasmine Davis (Junior) led the team with 12 kills and two blocks in the match, and Jake-Turner followed up with 11 kills and two blocks of her own.
Saturday started easily as UConn swept the New Jersey Institute of Technology three matches to none. The highlight of this match was unquestionably the moment when Caylee Parker made history, recording her 1,000 career kill early on in the first set of the match. Head Coach Ellen Herman-Kimball emphasized the accomplishment perfectly, saying “It couldn’t have happened to a more deserving person. She comes into practice every single day, works her tail off every single day, and I’m just really happy for her because it is very much well-deserved.” The Huskies would cruise on to win the next two sets convincingly and improve to 2-0 on the weekend.
The penultimate conclusion to the weekend came as UConn defeated Yale three sets to one on Saturday. The first set was all UConn as they opened up with four blocks that led to points. The second set was much more heavily contested, as both teams traded blows early. Then it was Bryant’s turn to attempt a comeback, as they managed to tie it up at 23 apiece. However, the Huskies wouldn’t allow it to happen, as a great team effort blocked back-to-back Yale attempts to take a two set lead in the match. Looking to sweep the tournament, UConn jumped out to an early lead, but the scrappy Bulldogs were able to come back and retake the lead late. An inspired Huskies attack brought the set close once again, but Yale was able to close out the set and extend the match. The final set saw Yale ahead late with a 23-19 lead, but once again, the Huskies refused to go out lightly, and came all the way back to retake the lead and ultimately the match, completing the UConn sweep of the Dog Pound Challenge.
Allie Garland (junior) claimed MVP honors for the home team, and teammates Jasmine Davis (junior) and Mckayla Wuensch (senior) joined her on the Dog Pound Challenge All-Tournament Team. UConn will get set to take on Seton Hall Friday in the Gampel Pavilion as they open Big East Conference play for the first time this season.