November 22, 2013

Volleyball Set For NEC Tournament Semifinal

The Central Connecticut volleyball team will open the 2013 Northeast Conference Tournament on Saturday night at 5:30 p.m.  The #2 Blue Devils will play the #3 Sacred Heart Pioneers in the second of the day's two semifinal matches.  The #1 seeded LIU Brooklyn Blackbirds will play the #4 Robert Morris Colonials at 3 p.m. in the other semifinal.

LIU Brooklyn earned the right to host the tournament by winning the 2013 NEC Regular Season Championship with a perfect 14-0 record in conference play.  The Blackbirds will host the tournament at the Steinberg Wellness Center on their Brooklyn, New York campus.

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MATCH NOTES

Here is a quick look at the Blue Devils heading into the NEC Tournament:

11 Straight • This is the 11th straight year that CCSU has reached the NEC Volleyball Tournament.

Blocks • CCSU has excelled at blocking this season with 282 total blocks and a 2.74 blks/set average.  The Blue Devils rank 25th in the nation and first in the NEC in blks/set.

Dunlap • Junior Rachel Dunlap is a major contributor to CCSU's blocking success this season.  She is sixth in the nation in blocking with and average of 1.55 blks/set.  Dunlaps 155 total blocks this season broke Jamie Baumert's school record of 154 set in 2009.

Streaks • The Blue Devils posted a seven match winning streak earlier this season, a feat that CCSU had not achieved since the 2007 season.  After dropping matches to St. Francis Brooklyn and LIU to open NEC play the Blue Devils ran off another winning streak, this time 10 matches.

As of Nov. 23, the Blue Devils will have lost just one match in the last 55 days and only three times in the last 71 days.

Squad Break Down • Head Coach Linda Sagnelli's starting line-up features one senior, one junior, two sophomores and three freshmen.

Senior Veronika Ban, junior Rachel Dunlap and sophomore Makenna Lommori were all regular contributors to last year's squad.

Sophomore Heather Trueman saw limited action last season, while freshmen Brooke Schwab, Cassidy Stankowski and Rachel Fish are all new to the team.

Blocks • CCSU has excelled at blocking this season with 282 total blocks and a 2.74 blks/set average.  The Blue Devils rank 25th in the nation and first in the NEC in blks/set.

21 Blocks vs. SHU • The last time CCSU played SHU, the Blue Devils posted 21.0 total blocks as a team, matching the program record for the most in a match under the current scoring format.

By Set • CCSU is 9-4 in three set matches, 8-3 in four set matches and 3-1 in five set contests.

CCSU is 15-13 in the first set, 18-10 in the second set, 19-9 in the third set, 10-5 in the fourth set, 3-1 in the fifth set.

vs. #1 LIU Brooklyn • L, 3-1 • L, 3-0 • The Blue Devils dropped both matches with LIU Brooklyn this season.  CCSU won the opening set against the Blackbirds in Brooklyn earlier this season, but lost the next three to drop the match.  CCSU was swept by LIU in New Britain last weekend.

vs. #3 Sacred heart • W, 3-1 • W, 3-2 • The Blue Devils swept the Pioneers this season, but Sacred Heart did give one of the biggest challenges to CCSU during its 10 match winning streak.  CCSU lost the opening set to SHU, but won the next three during their Oct. meeting in New Britain.  The Nov. rematch in Fairfield was a thrilling 3-2 affair, which the Blue Devils won by claiming the fourth and fifth sets.

vs. #4 Robert Morris • W, 3-1 • W, 3-1 • CCSU swept both meetings with Robert Morris this season.  The Blue Devils won in three in New Britain and then in four sets in Pittsburgh two weeks later.  RMU took the first set in that meeting, but CCSU won three straight to take the match.