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Monday, October 23, 2017

Sports

Volleyball struggles against conference opponents


struggle

The Cougars continue to struggle overall but are doing well at home with a 3-1 record. They take on The UConn Huskies on Friday. |Thomas Dwyer/The Cougar.

The volleyball team continues a losing streak in conference play after dropping the first two games of their American Athletic Conference play over the weekend. It marks the 22nd straight loss in conference matches — the worst streak in the team’s history.

Despite the poor team play, there are some promising young players who continue to elevate their game as the season presses forward. Freshmen setter Abby Irvine and sophomore libero Katie Karbo have stood out amid an otherwise lackluster season.

Irvine, a starter at the setting position, leads the team in double-doubles for the season with three under her belt.

“It’s been a great experience so far,” Irvine said. “Normally you’d be scared, but the team has really taken me in and helped me out. They haven’t made me feel any pressure or anything.”

Karbo can relate with Irvine. She, too, was a starter on the team her freshmen season and ended the year with the second most digs by freshmen in the AAC. Karbo ended her first year ranked eighth in school history for digs per set in a season.

The stellar defensive specialist said she learned a lot last year and used her experience to grow as a player and teammate.

“I do feel like I have a huge role on the team … talking and leading as a player, being that person on the court that everyone can count on,” Karbo said. “So I do feel I have a role on this team as a leader.”

The libero is currently first among AAC competitors in dig percentage and 13th nationally, averaging a 5.64 percent.

The Cougars as a whole have not managed to produce formidable results in the win column and are on the wrong side of the statistics leaders for the AAC.

The team is leading the league in hitting percentage, kills and assists by opponents. The inflated numbers are in part due to the Cougars’ lack of play. They have only seen 39 sets in total, which is the second lowest total in the conference.

The squad has only played four home games compared to six on the road, and they have a noticeably better record when playing in the Athletic Alumni Center’s confines. The Cougars are 3-1 at home but have lost all but one match while traveling to opposing locations.

The Cougars open a four game home stretch against the UConn Huskies on Friday where they will look to continue their dominance at home and break the wretched losing streak that has plagued them since last year.

The game begins at 7 p.m.

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