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Head Coach Holly Strauss-O'Brien
Fourth Season

Holly Strauss-O'Brien, the sixth head coach in Connecticut volleyball's 32-year history, enters her fourth year at the helm of the program. In three seasons, Strauss has ushered in a new era of UConn Volleyball full of exciting changes that will take the program to new heights.

Last season, Strauss guided UConn to its second straight BIG EAST Tournament appearance as the Huskies finished the season with an overall record of 19-11. The 2007 season included an 8-6 BIG EAST record, the Huskies in a three-way tie for sixth place in the conference after regular season play and an important 3-1 victory over BIG EAST opponent Notre Dame. Strauss led the Huskies to their second all-time victory over Notre Dame and the program's first win against the Irish since 1998.

In 2006, Strauss brought UConn to its first BIG EAST Tournament appearance since 2002, while the Huskies finished with a 19-11 overall record and 8-6 in BIG EAST play. The direct impact of her second recruiting class was felt as the group had a huge role in the success of 2006 with freshman Bridget Denson-Dorman earned all-BIG EAST Second Team honors in just her first season in the UConn uniform.

Strauss’ leadership has allowed the program to develop off the court as well. Eight team members earned Director of Athletics Scholar-Athlete honor roll status while six member were named BIG EAST Academic All-Stars for their achievements in the classroom. Senior Megan Silver then became the first volleyball athlete to be honored with a UConn Club Scholar-Athlete Award following the 2006 season.

"The program is rapidly laying down the foundation for future success on the court and in the classrooms," said Strauss. "Our program is full of change...an exciting change."

Under the direction of Strauss, the Huskies posted a 15-13 overall record in 2005. UConn was 7-7 in the newly-expanded BIG EAST Conference with the addition of Cincinnati, DePaul, Marquette, Louisville and South Florida.

Senior Jenny Neelands was named to the 2005 BIG EAST Second Team. In addition, eight of Strauss' student-athletes were honored as Director of Athletics Scholar-Athlete Honor Roll Recipients for the 2005-06 academic year.

Strauss was named head coach in 2005 after serving as the Huskies' assistant coach. As a graduate assistant during the 2003 season, Strauss helped UConn to a 20-12 record in 2003, a six-match improvement over the previous year, before becoming the program's full-time assistant at the start of the 2004 campaign. Strauss was appointed interim coach midway through the 2004 season and the team responded by winning six of their first seven matches under her leadership, closing the season with a 17-11 overall record, 6-4 in the BIG EAST.

Prior to moving to Storrs, Strauss served as a coach for the Triangle Volleyball Club 17s in Durham, N.C., where she led her squad to a regional championship title. Strauss enjoyed an illustrious playing career at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. On the floor, she helped the Tar Heels put together a solid run, going 115-22 (.839) in her four seasons, including a 32-4 mark and a trip to the NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 in 2002, while earning three Atlantic Coast Conference tournament titles and a pair of ACC regular season crowns. Individually, Strauss, a two-time team captain, remains the school's career-leader in blocks per-game (1.24 bpg.), while her total of 311 block assists places her second on the all-time list.

Hailing from Hamilton, Ontario, Strauss also gained international playing experience as a member of the Canadian Junior National Team from 1996-98, making the All-Star team at the Cuba Invitational. She graduated from North Carolina with a Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology and received her Master's Degree in kinesiology, sport management and sociology of sport at UConn.
 


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