LIVE STATS: Albany | Army | St. John's
VIDEO: Army TWITTER: @UConnVB
STORRS, Conn. – Three matches remain for the University of Connecticut volleyball team before American Athletic Conference matchups begin, as the Huskies will participate in the West Point Invitational this weekend against Albany, Army and St. John’s.
The Huskies (7-1) are coming off a clean sweep of Loyola Maryland, Yale and St. Francis Brooklyn this past weekend in the Dog Pound Challenge – extending their winning streak to four matches.
UConn looks to continue the streak when it faces Albany and Army on Friday, at 11 a.m. (ET) and 5 p.m. (ET) respectively, and St. John’s on Saturday at 3 p.m. (ET). All three matches can be followed on live stats, while the Army game can be seen on the Patriot League Network.
“As the schedule turns out, I think this might be our toughest weekend,” said head coach Kris Grunwald. “Originally we thought it would be the LSU Tiger Classic; but when you look at the competition this weekend, it’s really tough.”
In his third season as head coach, Kris Grunwald has led the Huskies to their best start since the 2007 season by winning seven of the first eight matches. Before opening up its 20-match conference schedule, UConn finishes non-conference play in New York.
Redshirt freshman Kayla Williams has been the most productive attacker for the Huskies this season, recording a team-best 93 kills and 3.58 kills per set. She was named Dog Pound Challenge MVP after recording double-digit kills in all three matches.
After a redshirt season, Williams continues to impress in the first eight matches of her collegiate career.
“Kayla has been in our gym for a full year now, so we know her potential – both short-term and long-term,” said Grunwald. “For her to have that breakout weekend, it was special for her.”
UConn has a whopping advantage in kills this season, recording 400 to opponents’ 250. The attack percentage of .288 compared to opposing teams’ .155 is also substantial.
The Huskies lead the nation with 15.38 kills per set, holding an edge over San Diego and reigning national champion, Nebraska. UConn is fourth in assists per set with 14.04.
SCOUTING THE COMPETITION
Albany, a team picked to win the America East Conference in the preseason, is currently 3-6 but has played a tough schedule to date – including matches to UNLV and UC Santa Barbara. The Great Danes have a young team, with nine of 14 players listed as freshmen or sophomores.
With Army, the Huskies are facing a team that already has wins over Lipscomb and UTSA, programs that finished 51 and 64 respectively in the 2015 NCAA volleyball RPI. The Black Knights are 7-4 and have won six straight matches.
St. John’s is off to an 8-2 start, but lost a five-set match to Fairfield in its most recent action on Wednesday night. Three players – Julia Cast, Marghe Bianchin and Gaia Traballi – are averaging over three kills per set.