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Active Ankle Challenge Next For Huskies

Sept. 9, 2010

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Match 4 - Friday, Sept. 10
vs. Belmont - Noon
Place: West Lafayette, Ind.
Series: First Meeting

Match 5 - Friday, Sept. 10
at Purdue - 7:30 p.m.
Place: West Lafayette, Ind.
Series: First Meeting

Match 6 - Saturday, Sept. 11
vs. Duquesne - 4:30 p.m.
Place: West Lafayette, Ind.
Series: UConn leads, 1-0
Last Meeting: UConn, 3-2 (10/30/92)

The week ahead
The University of Connecticut volleyball team continues its early season tournament schedule as the Huskies travel to West Lafayette, Ind. to take part in the Active Ankle Challenge at Purdue University this weekend. The Huskies will be one of four teams competing in the tournament, joining Belmont, Duquesne and Purdue. UConn will open the weekend with two matches on Friday (Sept. 10) facing Belmont at 12:00 p.m. and the host Boilermakers at 7:30 p.m. The Huskies will close the tournament with a 4:30 p.m. match against Duquesne on Saturday (Sept. 11).

Follow The Action LIVE!
This weekend's matches against Belmont and Duquesne can be followed LIVE via Gametracker, while Friday night's contest against Purdue will have FREE audio in addition to Gametracker. All of the match links can be found on or by clicking HERE.

Kirk & Murray Earn All-Tournament Honors
Junior Jordan Kirk and senior Rebecca Murray were named to the UConn Toyota Classic All-Tournament Team last weekend after leading the Huskies to a 2-1 finish. Murray had a team-high 22 kills and seven service aces along with 21 digs during the tournament while Kirk tallied 17 kills, 34 assists and 20 digs. This marks the third All-Tournament Team for both Murray and Kirk, with Kirk earning the honor twice as a sophomore and Murray earning a spot once as a junior and once as a sophomore.

Serving Up The Points
As a team, UConn leads the BIG EAST in service aces per set, averaging 2.33 after the first weekend of action. The Huskies have posted 21 service aces over the first three matches, led by Rebecca Murray who has notched seven, four against Hartford (9/3) and three against Brown (9/4). Jordan Kirk (4), Morgan Freeman (4), Kelsey Maving (2), Mattison Quayle (2) and Allison Nickel (2) have also tallied service aces for the Huskies this season.

...And Murray Leads Individual Category
Rebecca Murray's seven service aces during the UConn Toyota Classic catapulted her into the lead in service aces per set amongst BIG EAST players, averaging 0.78 per set. Murray had a season-high of four service aces against Hartford (9/3) last Saturday, which also tied her career best that she set last season against Texas Christian, also at the UConn Toyota Classic.

Maving Moves In
Kelsey Maving has made an immediate impact on the Husky defense, ranking second in the BIG EAST with 5.44 digs per set, behind Villanova's Kim Maroon who is averaging 5.78 digs per set. In her first weekend as the UConn libero, Maving recorded 49 digs, including team-highs in all three matches (14 vs. Hartford, 16 vs. Brown, 19 vs. SIU).

Freeman Fires Up
Morgan Freeman had a stellar performance during her first three matches as a Husky, posting 14 kills, four service aces, two block solos and nine block assists over the weekend, including team-highs against Brown (2 BS, 7 BA) and SIU (3 SA). Freeman's four service aces rank her seventh in the BIG EAST (0.44 per set), while her 11 total blocks rank her sixth (1.22 per set). She is the lone freshman to be ranked in the top-10 in service aces per set, and one of two freshmen ranked in blocks per set.

...And Sets BIG EAST Match-High
Freeman's nine blocks against Brown are a 3-set match-high in the BIG EAST this season, ahead of Notre Dame's Hilary Eppink who recorded eight against Weber State last weekend. Freeman's nine blocks also marks the highest total a freshman has recorded during the first weekend of play since Holly Strauss-O'Brien became UConn's head coach in 2005. Teammate Rebecca Murray is the lone Husky to come close, posting five blocks against Davidson as a freshman in 2007.

Kirk & Nickel Step In To Lead Offense
Jordan Kirk and Allison Nickel were called on to lead the UConn offense during the UConn Toyota Classic, combining for 71 assists over the weekend including 34 in the win over Hartford (9/3). Both set career highs against the Hawks, Kirk with 15 and Nickel with 19. The duo posted just 41 assists in the past two seasons combined, with a season high of 19 from Kirk during her sophomore season.

Scouting The Bruins
Belmont enters the Active Ankle Challenge after a rough week of competition, posting just a 1-4 record since last Friday, with the lone win coming against Weber State at the Nevada Invitational. Maggie Johnson and Kayla Albritton are close to breaking the 100 kill mark this season, both recording 97 kills in the past seven matches to lead the Bruins. Belmont's defense is anchored by Megan Clements who has posted 87 digs, while Hannah Miranda captains the offense averaging 10.04 assists per set. Belmont has tallied 50 service aces this season, the highest total of all four teams participating this weekend.

Scouting The Dukes
Duquesne enters the weekend on a two-match win streak after sweeping Chicago State at the InnTower Invitational and Saint Francis (Pa) in mid-week action. Three Dukes have posted at least 50 kills this season, led by Allison Foschia with 65. Duquesne is also strong defensively, having five players with at least 60 digs, with Amy Palko leading the squad with 119. The Dukes have limited their opponents to just a .092 hitting percentage this season, posting 80 block assists and 13 block solos on the year.

Scouting The Boilermakers
Purdue enters the weekend on a three-match win streak, including 3-0 sweeps over Libscomb and Pittsburgh en route to the Pitt Invitational title. Ariel Turner paces the Boilermaker offense, averaging 4.19 kills while Tiffany Fisher adds 2.62 kills and 0.81 blocks per set. Defensively, Blair Bashen leads Purdue with 3.43 digs per set while Jaclyn Hart has dished out 10.94 assists. Purdue has outhit opponents .270 to .130 this season.

Next up
UConn will take a break from tournament play and travel to Northeastern for a 7:00 p.m. mid-week contest, facing the Huskies on Tuesday, September 14. Connecticut will then take part in the Colgate Invitational (Sept. 17-18), squaring off against Akron, Cornell and Colgate.

Return To Gampel
The Huskies won't return to Gampel Pavilion until the end of September, when they host the University of New Hampshire on Friday, September 24, and open BIG EAST play against Villanova on Sunday, September 26.