Preseason Blogs: Seniors | Juniors
STORRS, Conn. – With the Blue and White Scrimmage on tap for Friday afternoon, the University of Connecticut volleyball team inches another step closer to the season-opener against Syracuse next Friday at 5 p.m. (ET).
The Huskies open 2016 at the Syracuse Invitational, where they will play the Orange on Aug. 26 and at Colgate on Aug. 28. UConn’s home-opener is scheduled for Friday, Sept. 9 as part of the two-day Dog Pound Challenge.
Under third-year head coach Kris Grunwald, the Huskies look to make another stride this season following a four-win improvement between the 2014 (12-19, 5-15 AAC) and 2015 (16-15, 10-10 AAC) campaigns.
UConn finished tied for fourth-place in the American Athletic Conference in 2015 and was recently picked to finish fifth in the 2016 AAC Preseason Poll. Senior Jade Strawberry was selected to the All-AAC Preseason Team after being named All-AAC Second Team in her junior season.
The series of preseason blogs continues, as the sophomore class shares its experiences from this past week (Aug. 15-19). For more news and updates, follow @UConnVB on Twitter, UConnVBall on Instagram and UConn Volleyball on Facebook.
“Hey Husky fans- some of your favorite sophomores here! We are so happy to be starting our second year at UConn! With just one week of preseason left (time flies when you’re having fun!), we are getting more and more excited to play our opening match against Syracuse.
Monday, we started off our day with practice at 8:30 am, but many of us were in the gym even before that to get some extra reps in! The team broke up by position in the morning session, and although it was a slower pace, we did our best to progress. After practice, we were preparing for lift when we got a surprise text message in our team GroupMe reminding us that we did not have lift! Although we were sad that we did not get to spend time with Coach D (the best strength coach in the nation), we enjoyed some team bonding in the locker room watching the Olympics. Of course we have been cheering on Team USA, but this week we made sure to watch the women’s field hockey team because its captain, Melissa Gonzalez, is a UConn alum! Later that afternoon, we had our second session in which we did a lot of game-like play. It did not go as well as we would have liked it to, but we left practice determined to make Tuesday a better day. We ended Monday with a lovely catered dinner with some yummy chicken, pasta, and vegetables.
Media day was on Tuesday morning! Half the team got to sleep in a little extra, while the other half got up early to do our hair and makeup (the first time in a while!). After getting our jerseys, we went to Shenkman (the football complex) to the video-editing suite with the giant green screen. First, all of us did our video introductions that are played during the starting line-ups at our home games in Gampel. After that, we had a little fun filming segments for our Throw Back Night later this season. In Name that Tune, each person put on headphones and tried to guess the name and artist of the song that was being played. It was very entertaining watching each other try to sing and dance! The other segment was 90’s Trivia; some of the questions were to name all the Spice Girls, finish the Folger’s coffee jingle, and (the hardest one) name the mammal that was first cloned. If you were wondering, it is Dolly the sheep. After lunch, we all met back to lift with Coach Mike, because Coach D had to be with his adorable daughter, who we met for the first time this summer! We finished the day off with a three-hour afternoon practice that showed much improvement!
Finally, on Wednesday we did some more individual work in the morning session from 8:30-10:30. Instead of yoga this week, we went into our weight room and did a nice, long stretch session with Coach D. We rolled out using lacrosse balls and foam rollers, and we stretched our legs using the exercise bands. We felt brand new afterwards! During the break in between, the seniors and Lizzie filmed a super cool intro video for our home games in Gampel. This included lots of blue and red powder (to find out more details, come to our home opener!!). Even though we did not get to participate, we are excited to see the final product and look forward to the day that we are the seniors! In our afternoon session we went over some film from the previous scrimmage, and then brought our “A-game” to practice to make the right adjustments.
In preparation for our Blue and White Scrimmage, we spent both of Thursday’s practices doing six on six and other game-like scenarios. Now we are headed to bed to get our rest for a big day on Friday! Love, your sophomore girls (Iman, Kennedy, Emma).”