The fourth-seeded Central Connecticut volleyball team fell, 3-0, to top-seeded Sacred Heart in the semifinals of the Northeast Conference championship on Saturday in Fairfield, CT. The Blue Devils' season ends with a 14-13 overall record.
Senior Cassidy Stankowski led the Central attack with seven kills. Freshman Erin McDermott had 13 assists and sophomore Kaitlyn Kushman added 12 assists. Senior Rachel Fish led CCSU with 16 digs, while Stankowski and junior Lindsey Massicotte each added 11 digs. Senior Brooke Schwab had a team-high six blocks.
Sacred Heart took the opening set, 25-19. The Blue Devils opened with an ace from Massicotte and were within a point much of the set. The Pioneers ran off three straight points to go ahead, 20-14, before CCSU came back with three straight of its own, the last coming on a block by Schwab and freshman Morgan Woycik. SHU scored three straight to close out the set and take the early lead in the match.
Central opened quickly in the second set, building a 3-0 lead after a block by Schwab. The Pioneers responded with four straight points to go back in front. SHU went on a 6-1 run and finished off a long rally with a block to build an 11-6 lead. The Blue Devils responded with three straight points, including an ace from Kushman to get within 11-9, but that was as close as they would get the rest of the set. A 5-0 run by Sacred Heart would push the lead to 16-9 en route to winning the set, 25-19.
CCSU had an early 3-0 run in the third set to take a 5-4 lead. The Pioneers would come back with a 4-0 run to build a 12-8 lead. The Blue Devils would respond with a 5-1 run of their own and even the match at 13-13, but SHU would use a run of three straight points to take the lead for good and a late 6-0 run would help finish the set out, 25-18.
Schwab moved into fifth on the CCSU career list with 410 blocks, while Fish capped her career with 1,393 digs, which ranks second all-time in program-history. Her 453 digs as a senior ranks eighth on the single-season list.
Central finishes the season 14-13 overall and finished 9-5 in NEC play and was the only conference school to beat SHU during the season. Sacred Heart improved to 22-7 overall on the season.