Dog Pound Challenge - Tournament Homepage
STORRS, Conn. – Heading into the second annual Dog Pound Challenge, sponsored by John Gagnon’s Pet Resort, the University of Connecticut volleyball team is off to a strong start after winning two of three matches in the LSU Tiger Classic this past weekend.
The Huskies (4-1) host Loyola Maryland, St. Francis Brooklyn and Yale in a four-team tournament for canine supremacy, as all participating programs have dog nicknames, on Friday and Saturday at Gampel Pavilion.
UConn opens the tournament against Loyola Maryland on Friday at 10 a.m. (ET) and plays against Yale at 7 p.m. (ET). The Huskies play St. Francis Brooklyn on Saturday at 1 p.m. (ET). All games can be followed on Game Tracker or viewed on Husky Vision.
For the complete schedule of the Dog Pound Challenge, 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 www.gofundme.com/eaanimalshelter.
“I’m a dog lover and I always told myself if I was coaching at a school with a dog mascot, it’s something I would try to do,” said head coach Kris Grunwald. “We wanted to do a fundraiser for local rescues and we want to help as much as we can.”
The UConn tennis team is donating tennis balls to the pound for dogs to play with, as the volleyball program looks to include as many people as possible in the Dog Pound Challenge to benefit animals that are stray or abused.
From 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Friday evening, Wings of Freedom Animal Rescue will be stationed near the Jonathan statue outside of Gampel with animals for adoption. All are encouraged to stop by to play, meet and adopt animals to become a part of their lives.
CATCHING UP WITH UCONN
Senior Hayley Cmajdalka and redshirt freshman Kayla Williams were each named to the Tiger Classic All-Tournament Team after strong performances over the weekend, helping UConn to wins over LSU and Virginia.
“It’s so early in the season and right now we are just trying to focus on our play,” said Grunwald. “We came home happy with 2-1; it would have been nice to go 3-0, but we’re in a good position heading into this weekend.”
The Huskies are now 4-1 for the first time since the 2008 season, as they prepare to open their home schedule with the Dog Pound Challenge.
UConn currently ranks third in the country in kills per set (15.59) and assists per set (14.53). Senior Jade Strawberry leads the team with 58 kills, while sophomore Emma Turner leads with 127 assists.
“When we look at Emma, we think a year ago when she was a freshman starting in her first couple matches. Relative to where she is now, she’s like a totally different player,” said Grunwald.
UConn is 15-4 all-time against Yale, but has never played Loyola Maryland or St. Francis Brooklyn before this season.
SCOUTING THE COMPETITION
Loyola Maryland enters with a 2-2 record after Tuesday night’s four-set loss to George Washington. The Greyhounds return an experienced lineup with five juniors and four seniors, while holding wins over Akron and Delaware State.
The Bulldogs have won five Ivy League titles and earned five automatic NCAA Tournament berths since 2010, proving to be one of the successful programs in the northeast. Yale went 3-0 in the Yale Invitational last week, beating Albany, Iona and Rutgers.
St. Francis Brooklyn is currently 3-5 after going 2-1 in its home-opening tournament. The Terriers earned wins over Fordham and Quinnipiac, while losing to NJIT. A five-player senior class leads the Terriers into the upcoming weekend.