Huskies look to improve on last year's record
Published: Tuesday, August 28, 2012
Updated: Tuesday, August 28, 2012 00:08
Returning all but three players from last season, the UConn women’s volleyball team will be looking to exceed expectations as it heads into the 2012 season.
After going 4-10 in Big East play and finishing 12th last year, the Huskies are ranked 10th in the preseason coaches’ poll.
Overall the Huskies went 14-15 in 2011, posting a 10-5 non-conference record. The biggest killer for Holly Strauss-O’Brien’s team last year was playing on the road. While they were 4-2 on neutral sites, UConn went 1-9 in away matches.
Once again, this will be a young Husky team, and several key players return for 2012. The biggest loss for UConn is certainly Jordan Kirk, who started all 29 matches last year and led the team with 337 kills. But they return six players who played 25 matches or more last season.
Senior outside hitter Mattison Quayle, the 2011 Most Valuable Player for the Huskies, is the most notable returnee. Quayle was second on the team behind Kirk last year, with 323 kills, and also led the team with 28 service aces. She is expected to have another big season up front for UConn.
Sophomore outside hitter Devon Maugle had a big freshman year, but should have an even bigger sophomore year. Maugle played in all 106 sets last year, despite only starting 25 matches, and recorded 236 kills.
2011 team Defensive Player of the Year Kelsey Maving is back for one last big year. The senior libero played every set last year and led the team with 578 digs, the second most in a single season in UConn history and third most in the conference last year. In three seasons, she has 1,279 digs, ranking eighth on the school’s all-time list.
Another notable defensive player to watch will be junior Jackie Wattles. The middle blocker was the most active blocker on the team with 77 total blocks, of which eight were solo.
Senior setter Angela Roidt missed only one set last season and will once again be a key player for the Huskies. Roidt ranked sixth in the conference last season with 1,038 assists. She was third on the team with 211 digs and also produced 45 kills.
The Huskies return a lot of experience and a lot of talent. The expectations may be low in the conference, but UConn is a team that could surprise and take off this year. They will play their first game at Gampel Pavilion on August 31.