The UConn volleyball squad finally broke their eight-game losing streak in an explosive first conference win. In a dramatic battle against Butler, Connecticut earned an overdue mid-season confidence booster.
UConn started off the weekend with Xavier, a 6-2 Big East team with an exceptional record at their backs. The contest followed a similar pattern of the Huskies trailing behind their opponent. In the first set, Xavier made an opening scoring drive to set the Huskies back from the get-go. From there, UConn struggled to keep up while Xavier made kill after kill. The first point from the Huskies was earned by Taylor Pannell, one of the team’s leaders in scoring. As the set continued, the Musketeers were able to lock down a scoring margin of over 10 points. While the set closed out with a 25-19 outcome, the Huskies remained unphased.
The second set allowed the Huskies to toe the line of victory but ultimately resulted in another defeat. The power dynamic shifted in the contest as the Huskies led the match in segments. The duo remained tied as the score reached 22-22, but Xavier pulled away with the win.
The third and final set was UConn’s most significant loss as they fell 25-15. The Musketeers were once again able to knock out the Huskies early on in the set with an opening scoring drive, dispelling any momentum UConn had. From there, Xavier took off with kill after kill. Despite a long-fought sequence, UConn was unable to hold on and fell to the Musketeers.
Undeterred by a long season of challenges and an unfavorable conference record, the tide changed for UConn as they faced Butler. For the first time, UConn was leading the charge rather than following their opponents. This dynamic match will certainly elevate the morale and reinstate some confidence in the squad moving forward.
The first run of the match, secured by UConn, foreshadowed the Huskies’ imminent success. Although the Huskies were determined to sweep their opponents, Butler did not go down without a fight. The Bulldogs were persistent in their efforts and kept UConn alert and ready. The pair bounced back and forth to lead and were constantly tying the score to challenge their counterpart. The duo was at a stalemate as the score reached 23-23. For the first time this season, UConn was finally able to lock in the last two points for the win, leaving the Bulldogs defeated. One of the squad’s biggest challenges this season has been holding onto the game for the final points, like in the matchup against Xavier when they again fell to their opponent in the final points of the game. This time, the crew was finally able to change the narrative.
The second set allowed for back-to-back victory for the Huskies. The first kill of the game by Cera Powell once again put the group on the path to success. The second set followed a similar pattern as the Huskies were put to the test by Butler’s challenges. However, UConn was determined to finish off the group. For a second time, the Huskies corrected their previous mistakes by taking control of the final points of the match. UConn left Butler in the dust with a 25-22 score.
With two wins at their backs, the Huskies could feel confident in a favorable outcome for one of the first times this season. However, the crew was met with a shift in the third as Butler took their first set win of the day. In an extremely close fight, the Bulldogs pulled away with a 25-22 win and switched places with the victorious team.
The Huskies could not be counted out. In the fourth and final set, the group earned the win they’ve been waiting for all season. As always, the battle between the groups was long and hard fought, but in the end UConn accomplished the victory they’ve been fighting for.
Undoubtedly, the group has had its fair share of challenges this season, but it only made the win sweeter as an unfavorable streak has finally been broken. If the Huskies continue with this momentum, they have a fantastic chance at knocking out their conference opponents in the second round of matchups.
Next week, the Huskies will face Providence on Wednesday and Creighton on Friday.