Oct. 31, 2013
STORRS, Conn. -- The UConn women's volleyball team (11-13, 2-7 American) is back on the road this weekend when it travels to Texas for games at American Athletic Conference rivals Houston (13-11, 5-4 American) and SMU (14-8, 6-3 American). The Huskies are looking to avenge a pair of losses to the two schools from the Lonestar State, after they both picked up wins in Storrs at the end of September.
Connecticut’s early season match-ups were only the second and third times they have played their Texan league foes this year. UConn is 0-2 against SMU and is now 0-1 all-time vs. Houston.
Two UConn players will be making homecoming trips this weekend. Senior Jackie Wattles is originally from Liberty Hill, Texas, while freshman Hayley Cmajdalka hails from College Station. Wattles’ hometown is less than 200 miles from the campus of both Houston and SMU, and Cmajdalka’s is 100 miles from Houston and 186 away from SMU.
SCOUTING THE OPPOSITION
The Cougars host UConn with a 13-11 record this year, including a 5-4 mark in American play. HU has lost its last two contests, dropping league games vs. USF and at SMU. Prior to that, the Cougars won three in a row at Memphis, at Prairie View A&M and vs. UCF. Sarita Mikals leads the Houston attack with 289 kills and 3.28 k/s, placing her seventh in the conference. Courtney Warren adds 2.93 kills per frame, and Kadi Kullerkann adds 2.61 along with a .231 hitting percentage. Sophie Paine keys the Cougar offense with a team-high 9.35 assists/set, and Natalie Keck anchors the defense with 4.08 digs/set. Kaiti Waters has posted a team-high 62 total blocks on the year, and Kullerkann has chipped in 59. As a team, Houston leads the American with 1.44 service aces per set, led by 19 each from Paine, Olivia O’Dell and Destiny Patterson.
Southern Methodist currently sits at 14-8 on the season, logjammed in a tie for third place in The American with a 6-3 league record. The Mustangs have won their last two contests, taking down UCF and Houston at home in their most recent matches. Caroline Young powers the Mustang offense with 3.40 kills/set while hitting .274, also leading the American with 0.35 service aces per frame. Abbey Bybel and Maddie Lozano add 2.45 and 2.17 kills per set, respectively, and Cailin Bula has chipped in 144 spikes. Avery Acker is second in The American and 40th nationally with 10.86 assists/set, while Morgan Heise leads a balanced digging coalition with 3.60/set. Lozano is SMU’s top blocker, posting 83 total blocks and 1.09/set this season, fourth in the conference.
A LOOK AHEAD
After this weekend’s road contests, UConn returns to Gampel Pavilion to welcome USF to Storrs on Friday, Nov. 8 before UCF visits on Sunday, Nov. 10. The Huskies fell at both Florida schools earlier this year in conference play and will look to exact revenge at home.
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