UConn volleyball takes to the road for two Big East matches
Published: Thursday, October 18, 2012
Updated: Thursday, October 18, 2012 21:10
The UConn volleyball team will look to get back on track this weekend as they hit the road for matches at South Florida and Pittsburgh.
With eight matches remaining, the Huskies (12-10) are in ninth in the Big East Conference standings. The top eight teams at the end of the season will play for the conference championship in Milwaukee, Wis.
The advantage for UConn is that only four of the team’s remaining matches are against teams ahead of them. Two of those matches are against USF, who the Huskies play today in Tampa and again at Gampel Pavilion on Nov. 9. The Bulls are 4-4 in the conference (12-9 overall), meaning that the Huskies have more matches left than the Bulls. This them the advantage in positioning if they can win on Friday.
A win today certainly will not come easy. The Bulls made life difficult for two of the Big East’s best teams, Marquette and Louisville, in losses earlier this season. USF is even more of a close-match team than the Huskies. Four of their nine losses have come in five sets. UConn has played only two five set matches all year.
On Sunday, the Huskies will play the Pittsburgh Panthers in another crucial game. The Panthers have an overall record of 12-10, but are 3-5 in conference play, putting them half a match behind UConn in the standings. Pittsburgh’s losses also came at the hands of the top teams in the conference, like Louisville, Marquette, Cincinnati and Villanova.
UConn needs to win both matches this weekend to put them in a favorable position going forward. But they will also need help from an unlikely source. The Huskies will need to rely on strong play from one of the school’s biggest rivals, St. John’s.
The Red Storm plays Pittsburgh today and South Florida on Sunday. If UConn and St. John’s can combine to keep South Florida and Pittsburgh winless this weekend, UConn will move to 5-4, USF would be 4-6 and Pittsburgh would be 3-7, meaning UConn would be in a conference tournament spot, putting the odds in their favor with six matches remaining.
After the weekend road trip, the Huskies return home for matches next Saturday and Sunday against Rutgers and Seton Hall. They will then have a three-game road trip to Marquette, Syracuse and Georgetown before one last home game against USF.