Syracuse: Live Stats | @UConnVB on Twitter
Colgate: Live Stats | Live Stream | @UConnVB on Twitter
STORRS, Conn. – First serve for the University of Connecticut volleyball team happens this weekend as part of the Syracuse Invitational, as the Huskies play the Orange on Friday and Colgate on Saturday in their opening pair of matches.
UConn, picked fifth in the American Athletic Conference Preseason Poll, plays Syracuse at 5 p.m. (ET) and Colgate at 4 p.m. (ET). Both matches will be available on live stats and via updates at @UConnVB on Twitter.
Following a 16-15 (10-10 American) season in 2015, the Huskies look to advance their progress in head coach Kris Grunwald’s third season at the helm. Between Grunwald’s first and second seasons, UConn improved four matches in the win column.
With a strong senior group returning, including outside hitter and All-American Preseason Team player Jade Strawberry, the Huskies hope to take another step forward after a successful preseason.
Opening weekend is the first of four non-conference tournaments that the Huskies will play before the American Athletic Conference schedule.
After finishing 9-21 in the 2014 season, the Orange saw a drastic improvement with a 23-8 record in 2015 – not quite qualifying for the NCAA Tournament. Syracuse finished with an RPI of 57 at the conclusion of the season.
Three seniors who each recorded over 300 kills for Syracuse last season all graduated, leaving the Orange with a young team. Five freshmen and six sophomores are joined by only three juniors.
Syracuse leads the all-time series with UConn, 30-14. The Huskies last beat the Orange in 2003.
The Raiders finished 12-16 (10-6 Patriot League) in the 2015 season, losing in the semifinals of the Patriot League Tournament to American.
Five starters, plus the libero, return for Colgate in 2016, including the addition of five incoming freshmen. Junior outside hitter Kathleen Harris returns as the team leader in kills and second in digs.
UConn is 9-3 all-time against the Raiders, losing the most recent match with Colgate on Sept. 18, 2010.