Despite persistent efforts, the UConn women’s volleyball team fell to Marquette and Depaul in a weekend season thriller. The contests were yet another challenge for the Huskies as they faced an undefeated conference opponent and an intense five-set thriller.
The last time Connecticut earned a win against Marquette was back in 2009, but they have since fallen short in every contest. Due to this history, the Huskies knew the matchup would be a challenge, and despite the defeat, they made impressive strides.
The squad walked into the afternoon ready to bring the intensity, and they did not disappoint. The crew stormed the first set and started strong with a kill from Emma Werkmeister. The Golden Eagles were then able to match this with a kill of their own. Both squads bounced back and forth and matched their opponents’ kills. The Huskies gained more traction as the first set progressed and seperated the scoring margin by three points in a 17-14 lead. With the set nearing its end, the Huskies were able to stay one step ahead of Marquette. To finish out their dominant display, UConn went on a scoring drive to close out the first contest 25-19.
Despite their fantastic strides in the first matchup, the Huskies did not have the same success in the following sets. Marquette commenced the contest by blocking several UConn attacks with the duo Taylor Pannell and Werkmsiester both unsuccessful in their kills. Although Connecticut followed closely behind Marquette at the beginning of the contest, the gap was soon widened. The Golden Eagles were able to dominate attack after attack to finish off the Huskies 25-11.
The third set followed in a similar suit. Marquette locked in two kills right off the bat and ran away with the matchup from there. Leading UConn team members Werkmeister, Pannell and Cera Powell were able to secure several kills here and there, but not enough to throw off Marquette’s dominance. The third set finished 25-13 which brought the opponents into the fourth and final match.
Although the Huskies were unsuccessful in beating out Marquette in the final contest, they made some headway in the final plays. Connecticut succeeded in one final scoring run of the day to get closer to Marquette’s score. The final set finished 25-22, and despite the loss, the Huskies were closer than ever before. In the previous three matchups, UConn has lost 0-3 to the Golden Eagles, and this season’s 1-3 loss brought UConn one step closer to victory with their visible progress.
Despite falling 2-3 to DePaul in the second matchup of the weekend, the Huskies garnered more success than Saturday’s contest. The Huskies had an explosive start to the first set with a kill from Powell and did not back down despite DePaul’s attempts to tie the contest. With both teams in a race for the lead and consistently raising the intensity on the court, the first set was a power struggle. Both DePaul and UConn could not maintain a lead and often passed off to the other. In the final stretch, UConn dominated with an explosive scoring drive to finish off their counterpart 25-19.
The next sets all followed a similar format. The duo would struggle to gain momentum as the other remained on their heels, and the ending score boiled down to the final plays of the contest. The end of the second kept the opponents on their toes as they tied 25-25. The duo then tied 27-27, but the Blue Demons were ultimately able to make two final plays to close out the set 29-27.
The Blue Demons made similar progress in the third to lock down a win but were unsuccessful as the Huskies earned a win in the fourth. As the duo walked into the fifth and tie-breaking final set, the Huskies hoped to earn their first conference win.
Ultimately, DePaul stormed the court in a 15-11 win, and UConn closed out the weekend with another two losses. Despite these obstacles, Connecticut still demonstrated several exceptional plays throughout the weekend series. Additionally, sophomore standout Werkmeister dominated with 24 kills against DePaul and has shown impressive capabilities on the court this season.
Looking ahead, the Huskies will next face Villanova and Georgetown in another Friday-Saturday weekend sequence.