With another weekend in the books, UConn has yet again toed the line of victory. Despite another round of losses, there isn’t a team more resilient than the Huskies.
Butler was the first opponent to challenge the Huskies this weekend and narrowly escaped with a win. Although the Bulldogs are currently ranked two seats ahead of UConn in the conference, the Huskies made sure to show up and show out in Indianapolis.
The Huskies’ first set was limited in error as they consistently fired off kill after kill. The first came from Emma Werkmeister in a swift start to the contest. The Huskies were then able to secure an early lead that forced the Bulldogs to respond. UConn was successful in maintaining intensity and established a dominant presence on the court. The tide turned, however, as the score came to 12-12. From there, the Bulldogs fired off a series of kills to then put them in the leading position. In a swift change, UConn suddenly had trouble keeping up with the Bulldog’s pace. As the Bulldogs closed in on the 20-point mark, UConn was still fighting for their score in the late teens.
While UConn was able to knock in a few final points with kills from Cera Powell and Mya Ayro, a service error from Taylor Pannell was the nail in the coffin that pushed Butler to a 25-21 victory.
Despite an early set loss, the Huskies stuck with their usual mantra and kept their heads up for the next set.
The second set put the pressure on for the Bulldogs as they fell victim to several service errors early in the contest, allowing UConn to lock in a timely lead of 9-4. In a nearly identical format to the previous set, the Bulldogs tied the score at 15-15, then overtook the Huskies.
While UConn stayed on the heels of Butler, the Bulldogs were able to secure the final points of the match to send them roaring through a 25-23 victory.
If the Huskies were going to change the narrative, now would be the time as they headed into the third set 0-2. Unfortunately, the third followed a nearly identical pattern to the first two sets and the Huskies fell late in the match. The final points of the game were plagued by several attack and service errors by UConn to carry Butler to a 25-21 win.
UConn’s late fall in all three sets ultimately showcased a dismantling of the Huskies’ momentum in the final plays of the contest. Despite this, UConn picked themselves up and hit the road to take on Xavier in Cincinnati.
UConn then demonstrated an explosive presentation against Xavier, ranked No. 3 in the Big East. Despite their opposite ranks in the conference, the Huskies did not go out without a fight and battled out a four-set contest.
The first two sets featured the pair chomping at the bit for a lead. The duo appeared to be an even match and continuously matched the other’s score. The end of the first demonstrated an outstanding 5-point scoring run for the Huskies to catch up with Xavier. However, a service error and an attack error by the Huskies cost them a win and the Musketeers pulled away 25-23.
The next set favored the Huskies as their fight was finally recognized with a well-deserved set win. It was finally UConn’s turn to pull away with a lead as they swept up a 28-26 victory.
Unfortunately, the third was a harsh reality check for the Huskies as the Musketeers dominated the court. Xavier was able to nail several runs right out of the gate to establish a large scoring margin the Huskies were unable to recover from. As the score quickly hit 5-11, the Huskies were unable to gain any sort of traction. Although UConn eventually got a few more points on the board, they were crushed in a 14-25 loss.
Heading into the third, the Huskies were ready to reclaim the game, and they made sure to do so with dominance. The group quickly claimed the first two points of the match while the Musketeers fell to attack errors. While the set was a constant power struggle between the groups, the Musketeers brought out the best in UConn. The Huskies made sure to be on their a-game as the score approached 23-23. In the final points of the match, UConn fell to an attack error and a Xavier kill.
Aside from the loss, UConn demonstrated one of their best performances of the season against one of the conference’s most dominant competitors.
While this weekend was yet another challenge for the Huskies as a collective, several individual athletes excelled. Cera Powell reached and surpassed a remarkable 1,000 career kills and Emma Werkmeister also achieved an impressive 300 kills on the season.
Next weekend, Storrs will host the final matchups before the Big East Championship. UConn will aim to take down Georgetown and Villanova. Given the Hoyas’ 4-12 conference record, a victory may be within reach for the Huskies.