The Central Connecticut volleyball program collected two first-place votes and was picked third in the Northeast Conference Preseason Coaches Poll it was announced by the league on Thursday. The Blue Devils return a bulk of its lineup that qualified for the league's championship tournament before falling in five sets in the semifinals.
Central opens the season against Central Arkansas on Friday, Aug. 30, at the Georgetown Invitational.
CCSU was one of four schools pulling in a first-place vote, with Sacred Heart getting four first-place votes to be tabbed the preseason favorite. LIU got a first-place vote and was picked second, while defending champion Bryant collected the final two first place votes and was just behind CCSU in fourth.
Head coach Linda Sagnelli will begin her 20th season at the helm of the CCSU program with a lineup that returns three All-NEC selections, including Northeast Conference Player of the Year senior Madelyn Kaprelyan. Kaprelyan posted four triple-doubles to rank fourth in the NCAA en route to being the first Blue Devil named NEC Player of the Year. Senior Gala Galabova and junior Emma Henderson were each named to the All-NEC Second Team and are also back for the Blue Devils.
The Blue Devils' season begins at the Georgetown Invitational on August 30-31. CCSU will face Central Arkansas, Rider and Georgetown in the event. Central will host the CCSU Invitational on Sept. 13-14 against Rhode Island, Bucknell and Saint Peter's.
The 2019 NEC Tournament will take place on November 22-23. The top four finishers, based on winning percentage during the conference's regular season will compete in a two-day, single-elimination tournament. The high seed will host the entire event to be streamed on NECFrontRow.com.