In a swift shutout, the UConn volleyball squad saw an end to their two-game Big East winning streak.
Prior to this point in the season, the group was seeing their diligence pay off on the scoreboard as they were finally enjoying a confidence boost from their two prior victories. With 3-1 wins against Butler and Providence under their belt, the Huskies appeared to be making incremental steps to success. While they were able to slightly climb the ladder and are now tied with Providence for No. 10 in the conference, the team remains with a 2-8 Big East record.
With four weeks left in the season, the Huskies are holding their heads high but must maintain their momentum. This past weekend, the group had a break from their usual doubleheaders and instead was able to focus their energy entirely on one opponent: Creighton. The Bluejays currently maintain an opposite conference record from the Huskies at 8-2 and occupy the No. 2 spot. Additionally, Creighton has the highest hitting percentage in the league with .810 whereas UConn falls at .318. Undoubtedly, the Huskies were in for a challenge.
The first set was a shock for the Huskies as they were promptly shut down. The Bluejays were relentless in their scoring and offensive play, dominating kill after kill. The opening drive established a power dynamic in favor of the Bluejays as they were able to strike with a steady stream of kills. The opening set was one of UConn’s biggest struggles all season as they finished off with only 12 points under their belt.
The second set allowed the Huskies to pinpoint their previous faults and correct them. From the jump, UConn became much more aggressive in their attacking plays and established a newfound ability to deter Creighton’s scoring drives. The Huskies led the score early in the contest and forced the Bluejays to trail behind. However, Creighton was able to catch up and shift the narrative as they began leading after a 9-9 score. UConn then retaliated and led the score once again at 15-14. From here, Creighton was forced to take a timeout. UConn, however, did not let the Bluejays come back roaring and tied the score again at 17-17. At a stalemate, the duo bounced back and forth leading as the score neared the 20s. Then, the Bluejays upped the ante and kicked gameplay into high gear. Unfortunately, the Huskies struggled to keep up.
Despite a hard-battled set, the Huskies fell to Creighton in the final points of the game. The first and only scoring drive of the set brought the Bluejays to 25 as UConn was left toeing the line of victory at 21.
Once again this season, the third set was one of the Huskies’ biggest struggles as they were squashed 25-13. The Bluejays, relentless in their kills, gave UConn nearly no room to breathe on the court. The group was able to score a monstrous drive in the first few plays of the game to immediately set back the Huskies. From there, Creighton was able to gain a scoring margin of nearly double digits as the board approached 10-2. While the Huskies were able to push back a bit in the middle of the set to bring the score to 15-10, they weren’t successful in gaining any traction.
The third set, like the first, was a swift loss for the Huskies. With over 10 points between the opponents, Creighton may be one of the Huskies’ biggest losses all season.
Despite setbacks, Emma Werkmeister landed 10 kills, speaking to UConn’s skillset. However, the group struggled to make offensive opportunities throughout the match. In their contest with Providence just two days before, UConn was able to secure 52 kills, whereas versus Creighton, the Huskies could only make 27.
Undoubtedly, the game challenged the Huskies on nearly all fronts as they were forced to maintain intensity on both offensive and defensive fronts. In the face of the challenge, UConn never failed to maintain its morale and will continue to work as just about one month of the season remains.
Next weekend, UConn will travel to Chicago and Milwaukee to take on DePaul and Marquette.