Following a season of historic success, the University of Connecticut volleyball team’s season has now come to an end in the semifinal of the Big East tournament. A 0-3 defeat by Marquette, the eventual second place team in the Big East, marked the end of a season full of highs.
Marquette, the second seed going into the postseason, had lost just four times this season going into the playoffs. They would not add a fifth against the Huskies, who struggled with just a .034 hitting percentage, while Marquette had a much better .248.
In the first set, the Huskies hung on at first; at one point, the score was tied at 8-8, before the Huskies floundered. The Golden Eagles went on a 12-2 run late in that set, claiming a momentum-setting victory that the Huskies never seemed to recover from.
The second set was the closest, with a final score of 18-25 Golden Eagles. Kennadie Jake-Turner had some great defensive plays, with multiple blocks, while Marquette rode on a 7-1 streak after a 12-11 Huskies score in the midgame. They capped the set off with another run, 5-1, which pulled them to the 25-point mark and marked a 2-0 scoreline for the Golden Eagles.
In the third set, Marquette showed more of the impressive abilities that had gotten them to the second seed. From the first moment, Marquette was dominant, going on a 13-2 run early and setting the pace throughout the set. While the Huskies would eventually get up to 13, they were unable to keep close to Marquette, who cruised their way to a 25-13 victory due in large part to the large lead they began the set with.
Despite the eventual loss, this was still a big season for the Huskies. Last week, three players on the team earned honors for the Big East: McKayla Wuensch, Caylee Parker and Kennadie Jake-Turner. Wuensch was named Big East Setter of the Year, the first since the reinstatement of the award which was removed in 2002, while Parker and Jake-Turner were named to the All-Big East team.
Parker, who was also named to the team last year, was also named to the All-Big East Tournament Team after her performance in the lost semifinal, where she had her 11th double double of the season in a series in which she was also the only player to get double-digit kills.
Now, the 2021 season comes to an end. In the end, Marquette lost the finals of the Big East tournament to reigning champions Creighton in a close 3-0 that gave Creighton their seventh win in eight years. The Huskies go out in third/fourth, now sitting with an 11-41 record in postseason matches in the Big East, a record they’ll be trying to improve next season.