Aug 29, 2013
Match Notes (PDF)
STORRS, Conn. – Led by 2012 BIG EAST Co-Coach of the Year Holly Strauss-O’Brien, the UConn women’s volleyball team is set to kick off its 2013 campaign, its first in the new American Athletic Conference. The Huskies will look to improve on a 19-12 season in its final run in the BIG EAST last year, and features a balanced group of strong attackers, solid blockers and staunch defensive players. UConn begins its season on Friday, Aug. 30 with a trip to Fort Wayne, Ind. to take on Southern Illinois, Duquesne and IPFW in the IPFW Invitational.
The Huskies were recently selected to finish third in The American in the Preseason Coaches’ Poll, joining favorite Louisville and second-place pick UCF as the trio of squads to receive a first place vote in the poll. For the first time, UConn will face each of its conference foes twice this season.
Juniors Devon Maugle (Plymouth Meetings, Pa.) and Brianna Datti (Durham, N.H.) were voted by the team to captain the squad in 2013. Below is a rundown of the returning players and newcomers that will support them as they look to take home the first American championship this fall.
Three returning/One lost/Two newcomers
Despite losing 2012 All-BIG EAST First Team member Mattison Quayle to graduation, the Huskies return a solid group of attackers this year. Maugle leads the charge after posting 302 kills (3.05 k/s) last year, second on the team behind Quayle and tops among all UConn returners. The junior captain also notched 2.27 digs/set and a team-high 21 service aces. Joining her in the hitter corps are junior Karson Ratliff (Wake Forest, N.C.) and sophomore Madeline Kuppe (Palo Alto, Calif.), who both eclipsed 100 kills last year. Ratliff was also one of Connecticut’s most efficient attackers, posting a .208 hitting percentage on her 145 kills.
Joining the three returners are a pair of talented freshmen in Camille Evans (Chicago, Ill.) and Jade Strawberry (Tallahasee, Fla.). Both will look to make an immediate impact on the pins for UConn this year.
Three returning/None lost/One newcomer
Manning the middle for the Huskies will be the team’s lone senior, Jackie Wattles (Liberty Hill, Texas) along with the explosive sophomore duo of Immanuella Anagu (Culver City, Calif.) and Erika Thomas (Ocoee, Fla.). Wattles has posted 126 blocks in her career, averaging 62.5 a year over her last two campaigns. The senior also added 102 kills last season. Anagu returns after leading UConn in hitting percentage in 2012, posting a .286 mark on 142 kills (1.61 k/s). Thomas was the top blocker for the Huskies last season, swatting 104 total blocks, good for 1.08/set. She will also see time as a right side hitter this year.
Hayley Cmajdalka (College Station, Texas) will also fight for time in the middle, joining the Huskies after a sterling prep career that saw her take home All-State honors in Texas as a senior.
One returning/one lost/one newcomer
Sophomore Marissa Prinzbach (Cincinnati, Ohio) was the primary setter for the Huskies last year and returns for more in 2013. Prinzbach served up 874 assists last season, and her 9.93/set was the 12th best mark among freshmen nation-wide. She also added 2.34 digs/set and 18 service aces.
While UConn will miss departed senior Angela Roidt’s 7.39 assists/set mark from last year, newcomer Sophia Mar (Oakland, Calif.) will be more than ready to fill the void. Mar was a First Team All-State member in California as a senior, as she dished out 1,026 assists for Bisop O’Dowd.
Three returning/one lost/one newcomer
UConn graduated its second all-time leading digger in Kelsey Maving last season, but a trio of returners will look to step in and make up for her production. Datti will serve as the team’s libero after scooping 247 digs (2.17/s) last year, tops among returners. The junior captain also tied Maugle for the team-high with 21 service aces in ’12. Amy Christensen (Ashburn, Va.) and Sage Esposito (Milford, Conn.) combined to post 113 digs last year, and will both have plenty of opportunity to improve on that this year. Esposito will also be used as a setter for the Huskies.
Courtney Crosby (Los Alamitos, Calif.) joins the fray after earning All-League honors at Los Alamitos High last season, where she won a pair of league titles.
After the IPFW Invitational, UConn returns to Storrs for its first home game when it hosts Hartford at Gampel Pavilion on Tuesday, Sept. 3 at 7 p.m.