The Huskies have another 0-2 weekend in their record books after they fell to Seton Hall and St. John’s in their second sequence of the season. Although the group put up their best efforts, both of UConn’s conference opponents nailed their second win against the Huskies.
Seton Hall was the first to seal the winning deal in the Friday-Saturday series. The last time the pair faced off was in late September when the Huskies lost 0-3. This past weekend’s outcome was identical.
In the September faceoff, the Pirates stormed right through the Huskies’ offensive and defensive gameplay as they dominated an opening scoring drive that UConn could not recover from. This time around, UConn was prepared to take the heat and even the playing field. In the first set, UConn proved their worth and answered the Pirates’ intensity, matching every kill Seton Hall made. The two teams exchanged the lead for the better half of the set, but the Pirates began to gain momentum as they neared the 20-point mark. The Pirates made quick work of the contest in the final plays of the game and locked up a 25-18 win.
In the second set, the Huskies dismantled the Pirates’ momentum with an early lead. UConn was able to command the pack for the first half of the set and maintained a steady dominance until the score reached 16-16. Suddenly, the UConn crew came crumbling down as the Pirates turned the tables and took the lead. As the score tied once again at 24-24 and again at 25-25, the contest was at a stalemate. In the final two plays of the set, the Huskies were hindered by an attack error and then fell to the Pirates’ final kill. Despite the 27-25 loss, UConn’s resilience was put to the test.
The third set would determine the outcome for the Huskies, who were trailing 0-2. With a kill by Emma Werkmeister to start the game, it was looking promising for the squad. UConn was then able to master an opening scoring drive to put UConn in the running lead 6-1. As the set continued, the Huskies’ momentum took a step back and allowed the Pirates to jump back into the competition. Heading into the final moments, the Huskies were trailing 19-20 and were taken down 25-21.
Despite the loss, the Huskies made impressive strides since their last faceoff with the Pirates. Although their noticeable improvements didn’t result in a win, their near success spoke volumes to the team’s cohesion and adaptability.
Saturday’s matchup featured St. John’s, one of the toughest teams the Huskies have faced all season. In their last matchup, the Red Storm knocked out UConn with a scoring margin of 12 points.
This time around, the Huskies knew what they were in for and refused to be tossed around on the court. Although the Red Storm made quick work in scoring, the Huskies followed right behind. Unlike the last matchup during which UConn fought to get their name on the board, the Huskies were able to keep up with their opponent. UConn even managed to tie the match at 9-9 when St. John’s demonstrated several attack errors. UConn continued to challenge the Red Storm as they secured yet another tie at 14-14.
It quickly became clear to St. John’s that a win was no longer an easy feat, and the Huskies were nothing like the team they beat at the beginning of the season. Since then, the squad has significantly evolved. Although the Red Storm ultimately finished 25-20, UConn made sure to put up a fight.
The second and third sets followed nearly identical patterns. The Huskies refused to give the Red Storm space to breathe as they followed closely on their heels. The second set finished 25-21 and once again shed light on the monumental progress the Huskies have made.
Although the third and final set resulted in a 25-18 loss for the Huskies, the contest established quantifiable improvement. At their previous meeting, the Red Storm demolished the Huskies in two 25-13 wins. This time, UConn did not let St. John’s off easy and remained headstrong in their attacking and defensive play.
Despite suffering back-to-back losses, UConn’s obvious improvement is no small accomplishment. Next weekend, the Huskies will see Butler and Xavier for their second faceoff of the Big East contest.