Connecticut Volleyball: A Competitive Force in the Big East

The University of Connecticut women’s volleyball team has established itself as a force within the Big East Conference and regionally in recent years. Led by experienced head coach Kristopher Grunwald, Connecticut Volleyball UConn has claimed multiple Big East titles and become a regular in the NCAA Tournament.

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Women's Volleyball Against Young Opponent
Women’s Volleyball Against Young Opponent

The Rise to Prominence

Grunwald took over the program in 2004 and quickly elevated the Huskies to new heights after years of middling results. His recruiting efforts secured major talents like outside hitter Kelly O’Brien, who became the 2011 Big East Player of the Year.

In 2005, UConn broke an 11-year absence from the NCAA Tournament. They went on to reach six straight Tournaments from 2008-2013, peaking with a trip to the Sweet 16 in 2009. The program won its first-ever Big East title in 2011 under Grunwald’s strategic leadership.

Dominant Stretch Starting in 2015

After a brief lull, UConn volleyball ascended back into the upper tier of the conference in 2015. They went 11-1 in the Big East, eventually falling to Marquette in the tournament final. But it marked the start of an Connecticut Volleyball impressive run.

The Huskies reclaimed the Big East crown in 2016, this time defeating Marquette for the title. They advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament. UConn went back-to-back as conference champions the following year, led by star right side hitter Cortney Wilson.

In 2018 and 2019, the Huskies lost in the Big East final to Creighton but still earned at-large NCAA bids. They defeated rival URI to reach the Sweet 16 in 2018, validating their status as a regional power.

Women's Volleyball Connecticut College
Women’s Volleyball Connecticut College

Keys to the Resurgence

A tactical coaching philosophy and strong recruiting have driven Connecticut’s success. Connecticut Volleyball Grunwald emphasizes defensive discipline and efficient ball control. The Huskies perennially rank near the top of the Big East in blocks thanks to his approach.

Grunwald has also upgraded the program’s talent level substantially by bringing elite prospects to Storrs. His staff has successfully targeted prominent volleyball states like Texas and California.

Connecticut Volleyball

The 1980’s brought about a revolution in volleyball with the introduction of the “fast-paced, aggressive, physical” game. The sport’s popularity was due in part to the introduction of the “golden age” of women’s beach volleyball in the early 2000’s. Connecticut Volleyball Today, beach volleyball is one of the most popular sports in the United States and around the world.

The winning tradition and national exposure from recent seasons give UConn recruiting clout. This helps the Huskies reload with new stars like outside hitter Caylee Parker from the class of 2022.

Outlook for the Future

Coach Grunwald has brought Connecticut volleyball to new competitive heights. The program shows no signs of slowing down. The Huskies will remain in contention for Big East titles and vie for deep NCAA Tournament runs behind Grunwald’s proven formula.


The University of Connecticut volleyball team has experienced an impressive rise over the past 15 years. Tactical coaching from Kristopher Grunwald and upgraded recruiting has transformed UConn from a middling program into a dominant force in the Big East Conference. With continued contention for league titles and NCAA Tournament berths, the future remains bright for Husky volleyball.

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Volleyball Travels to Connecticut
Volleyball Travels to Connecticut


When did UConn volleyball become a powerhouse?

UConn rose to prominence in the mid-2000s under coach Grunwald and has been a consistent contender since around 2015.

How many Big East titles has UConn won?

The Huskies have won the Big East Conference championship four times (2011, 2016, 2017, 2021).

What are some key tactics of UConn’s coaching philosophy?

Coach Grunwald emphasizes defensive discipline, efficient ball control, and blocking. This gives UConn an edge.

Who are some standouts for the Huskies recently?

Outside hitters Caylee Parker and Abby Casiano and middle blocker Grayson Rigsby are current stars. Cortney Wilson excelled from 2016-2019.

How far has UConn advanced in the NCAA Tournament?
Volleyball Hosts Connecticut Pair in MAAC Play This Weekend

The Huskies’ best finish came in 2018 when they reached the NCAA Sweet 16 before losing to eventual runner-up Nebraska.

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