STORRS, Conn. - Heading into the third annual Dog Pound Challenge, sponsored by John Gagnon's Pet Resort, the UConn volleyball team is off to a strong start after winning two of its three matches in the St. John's Invitational as part of opening weekend.
The Huskies (2-1) will host Hartford, Iona and LSU in a four-team tournament for canine supremacy, on Friday and Saturday at Guyer Gym.
UConn opens the tournament against Iona on September 1 at 12:30 p.m. and LSU at 7:00 p.m. The Huskies will round out tournament play on Sept. 2 against Hartford in a 2:00 p.m. matinee. Additionally, Dog Pound Challenge t-shirts will be given away to fans during the squad's Friday night match against the Tigers.
For the complete Dog Pound Challenge schedule, click HERE.
Off the court, UConn will look to make a difference by teaming up with the Sigma Alpha Sorority to collect donations to benefit local animal shelters. Donations will be accepted during the tournament or by visiting https://www.gofundme.com/jmuqsn-uconn-dog-pound-challenge.
On Saturday, Wings of Freedom Animal Rescue will have a table set up outside of the Guyer Gym main entrance so fans can see animals for adoption from 11:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m. Swing by to play with the animals or potentially bring one home!
Catching Up With UConn
Juniors Kennedy Arundel and Emma Turner were each named to the St. John's Invitational All-Tournament Team after strong performances over the weekend, helping UConn to wins against New Hampshire and St. John's.
Redshirt-sophomore Kayla Williams is posting a team-high 34 kills and four service aces so far this season. Turner paces all Huskies with 103 assists while Arundel's 65 digs ranks first amongst the squad.
UConn holds a strong 16-3 lead against Hartford in the all-time series and a 3-1 advantage against Iona. UConn and LSU are knotted 1-1 in their only two meetings on the court.
Scouting the Competition
Hartford owns a 0-3 record so far in 2017. The Hawks saw their first loss of the fall come at the hands of Central Michigan in a 3-1 defeat. The squad was then swept in straight sets against St. Brooklyn and Army West Point to round out the Black Knight Invitational last weekend.
The Gaels (1-2) are looking to get back in the win column after dropping their last two matches. Iona began 2017 with a tight 3-2 win against NJIT, before dropping its next two contests, 3-1 and 3-2, to La Salle and Bucknell, respectively. Claire Archibald was named to the Bucknell All-Tournament Team for her efforts on the court last weekend.
The Tigers, 3-0, enter the tournament on a three-game win streak. LSU opened the season with a straight set sweep against Arkansas-Pine Buff on Aug. 25. The team kept things rolling with a close 3-2 victory against Northwestern, before sweeping USF, 3-0. Anna Zweibel was named MVP of the USF Invitational, while teammates Taylor Bannister and Raigen Cianciulli were also tabbed to the USF Invitational All-Tournament Team.