With another weekend in the books, UConn is rounding out its final contests of the 2023 season. As just three weekends remain until the Big East finale, UConn has become highly familiar with their conference opponents. For the first matchup of the weekend, the Huskies traveled to Chicago to take on DePaul and despite falling 1-3, the group put up a tough fight.
The first set appeared hopeful for the Huskies as they were able to nail the first two points of the game against the Blue Demons. The Huskies would have to stay diligent as DePaul’s hitting percentage (.545) is nearly double UConn’s (.304). The Blue Demons were also enjoying the home-court advantage, where they’ve held a 6-2 record.
UConn staked their claim as they quickly began leading 4-2 in the opening plays. Despite DePaul’s ability to tie up the score 11-11, the Huskies remained level-headed. The Blue Demons refused to back down to the Huskies’ persistence and both teams took turns leading for the better half of the set. As the score reached 20-18 and UConn began trailing, the Huskies took a timeout. After the break, UConn ran away with a scoring drive to tie the contest 22-22. To close out the match, Taylor Pannell and Cera Powell drove home two kills accompanied by a service ace from DePaul’s Jill Pressly. As the set finished 25-23, the Huskies appeared to be on the path to success.
The second set quickly forced the Huskies to shift gears as DePaul dominated. In a 25-13 finish, UConn’s progress was swiftly challenged. The Blue Demons immediately conquered on the court as they maintained a scoring margin of over ten points.
Despite the setback, the Huskies were able to come closer to victory in the third. The duo established gameplay similar to the first set as both groups took turns leading the match. While the teams bounced back and forth for the majority of the set, DePaul sealed the deal in the final plays of the game to finish 25-22. The fourth and final set was nearly identical to the third as both teams struggled for control. Despite a long-fought battle, DePaul’s Audrey Klemp nailed the final point of the game to bring the Blue Demons to victory.
In the face of defeat, the Huskies managed to keep their heads up and continued their weekend gameplay in Milwaukee against Marquette. The Golden Eagles, sitting at No. 1 in the conference and boasting a three-game winning streak, would be the toughest game of the weekend for the UConn squad.
To start the first sequence, the groups traded kills and established an even-handed relationship on the court. Despite their opposite season records, the duo appeared to be on an even playing ground as the two traded leads for the majority of the sequence. As Marquette neared the 20-point mark, UConn began to trail behind. In the final run, Marquette was able to lock down a 25-19 win.
The second set was slightly more difficult for the Huskies as they trailed slightly more than usual. UConn followed behind for the majority of the set and the Golden Eagles secured a nine-point lead with a score of 22-13. Although the Huskies were able to earn a few more points in the final moments of the match, Marquette took home a 25-16 victory.
The final set gave the Huskies a bit of hope as they were able to establish an early lead, but the tables soon turned as the score reached 15-15. From there, Marquette secured a massive scoring drive to create distance from the Huskies and eventually ran away with a win. The final moments of the game were dominated by the Golden Eagles as they nailed kill after kill. In the end, the Huskies fell 25-19.
In spite of the losses, the Huskies were able to hold their own against some of the conference’s toughest competitors and maintained composure amidst dominant offensive gameplay.
Looking ahead, the squad will welcome Seton Hall and St. John’s to Storrs for another Friday-Saturday sequence. St. John’s is currently tied at the No. 2 spot in the conference and will put the Huskies’ training to the test.