Despite starting off the Black Knight Invitational with a sweep over St. Francis this past weekend, the UConn women’s volleyball team is coming off consecutive losses to Army and No. 20 Kansas. UConn will attempt to rebound when it takes on No. 12 San Diego on their home court in the first match out of three on Sept. 9 at 10 p.m. The Huskies are also slated to face Utah and SMU on Sept. 10 at 1 p.m. and 6 p.m., respectively. UConn travels to the West Coast hoping to get some “California Love” and put together a string of wins at the USD Invitational to bounce back from their tough weekend at West Point.
Senior Madi Whitmire looks to continue to provide for her team as she leads the offense with 9.19 assists per set. Junior Taylor Pannell is another Husky that is fun to watch, recording 1.06 blocks per set and ranking second in the Big East. Another prominent player on the team is Senior Jasmine Davis. She leads the team with 2.38 kills per set and ranks second in the conference with 0.50 aces per set. Senior Karly Berkland leads the defense, averaging 3.91 digs per set as she looks to be the wall for the Huskies, preventing any more matches from slipping away.
San Diego started the year with a five-set win over No. 6 ranked Pitt. They also added a pair of sweeps over Texas A&M and Hawaii on the opening weekend. The Toreros are led by Leyla Blackwell, who averages 1.78 blocks per set, ranking fifth in the nation. Gabby Blossom averages 10.89 assists per set and is No. 17 in the country in that statistic. The San Diego Toreros are ranked No. 12 nationally.
The USD Invitational is Utah’s first non-conference tournament of the year. A player to look out for is Madelyn Robinson, who is coming off of winning the Pac-12 Offensive Player of the Week after posting 4.54 kills over the weekend. Robinson had a career-high 21 kills in Utah’s win over Milwaukee and 18 digs for her first double-double. Vanessa Ramirez is another strong player on this Utah team who, along with Robinson, was named an All-Tournament Selection for her performance the week prior.
In the final match, UConn will take on SMU, who went undefeated at the Islanders Classic. The Mustangs swept Sam Houston, Indiana and Texas A&M Corpus Cristi in that tournament. They are led by Jamison Wheeler and Natalie Perdue, who are each averaging over 3.92 kills per set. Celia Cullen is another vital player to this team, averaging 10.72 assists per set. She ranks No. 21 in the nation in this category.
Currently in the Big East, Creighton sits in first place with a 5-1 record. UConn is in ninth place in the conference and looks to improve their record and move up in the standings with what the Huskies hope will be a successful weekend in the USD Invitational.