UConn volleyball tied for fourth in Big East
Published: Sunday, October 28, 2012
Updated: Sunday, October 28, 2012 23:10
Going into the 2012 season, the UConn volleyball team was projected to finish 10th in the Big East Conference.
With four games left, they are tied for fourth.
After beating both Rutgers and Seton Hall this weekend at Gampel Pavilion, the Huskies are now riding a four-match winning streak. They have taken the Big East by surprise this season, posting a 7-4 record in conference. After going 4-10 in 2011, this sudden turnaround for a team that has struggled the past three seasons is a surprise to some. But UConn Head Coach Holly Strauss-O’Brien is not surprised at all.
“We have a lot of youth, a lot of youth,” Strauss-O’Brien said. “We’ve got four freshmen who are stepping up a lot. I think our seniors are really leading them as well and every week we’re getting better. In terms of a season and a journey, we’re doing what we need to do. I know we haven’t played our best ball yet and that’s the most exciting part.”
For most of the season, three players dominated the UConn stat sheet. Senior Mattison Quayle and sophomore Devon Maugle were the bulk of the Huskies’ attack while senior Kelsey Maving was making most of the defensive plays. But recently, UConn has been getting help from an abundance of players, particularly young players who will play key roles on the team going forward. Strauss-O’Brien thinks that they have yet to have all their players gel at the same time, but when that happens, this team could be very dangerous.
“We’re so close,” Strauss-O’Brien said. “We still haven’t had a night where every single attacker is completely on and that’s fun because the day that that happens we’re going to be really hard to beat…We have three people stepping up most of the time, a different three people every single match which keeps it interesting for opponents because they don’t know who to defend but it keeps it real for us in terms of what’s in store around the corner.”
The Huskies still have a lot of work to do. They have three straight games coming up on the road before closing out the season at home against South Florida. There is a very good chance that UConn can finish in the top three in the conference regular season standings and they are on pace to have their best season in Big East play since finishing 10-5 in 2008. However, the Huskies know that they play in a tough conference where nothing is decided at this point.
“It’s that time of year,” Strauss-O’Brien said. “Everyone’s fighting for their lives to get to the tournament…I know Marquette’s going to give us a run for our money. No one’s safe right now in the next four matches that are left.
We’ve got to take them one game at a time. I’m not trying to get caught up in everyone else’s standings right now. I think we’re on track. I think if we take care of business, we should find ourselves in a pretty great situation by the end of it. I told the team that we’re not booking our tickets [for the Big East Tournament] yet but we’re definitely looking at flights.”