Junior Ashlyn Eisenga of the Central Connecticut volleyball team was named the Northeast Conference Defensive Player of the Year it was announced on Thursday night at the annual pre-championship banquet in Moon Township, PA. Eisenga was also named to the league's All-Conference First Team along with senior Madelyn Kaprelyan, while junior Emma Henderson and freshman Isabelle Roufs were both named to the All-NEC Second Team.
The Northeast Conference volleyball championship begins on Friday when fourth-seeded CCSU faces top-seeded Robert Morris in the semifinals at 3:30 p.m., while Sacred Heart and LIU will play at 6:00 p.m.
Eisenga was outstanding during the 2019 campaign, leading the conference with 4.72 digs per set. Her work along the back line helped CCSU rank thirdd in the league, holding opponents to a .185 hitting percentage. The junior moved seamlessly into the libero role this season and had nine matches with at least 20 digs. Eisenga had her first double-double with a career-high 33 digs to go with 13 assists at St. Francis Brooklyn on Nov. 2. She was named Defensive Player of the Week on Oct. 28 after averaging 5.9 digs/set in a pair of NEC wins. She had 28 digs in a win over LIU and had 19 digs without a receiving error in a sweep of Fairleigh Dickinson.
Kaprelyan, the 2018 NEC Player of the Year, earned all-conference recognition for the third time. She ranks third nationally with six triple-doubles, while adding seven double-doubles. The Huntington Beach, CA native ranks second on the team with 2.54 kills per set, while also ranking second with 4.59 assists per set. She added 2.18 digs per set and 0.63 blocks per set. Kaprelyan closed the regular-season with a triple-double against Bryant, posting season-highs in assists (26), kills (18), and digs (17).
Henderson leads the Blue Devils with 3.04 kills per set and has a team-high 32 aces. She's added 3.06 digs per set and 0.33 blocks per set, while accumulating 14 double-doubles. The junior had a season-high 23 kills against Lafayette on Sept. 20, while recording a season-high 22 digs against Sacred Heart last weekend. Henderson served up four aces in a sweep of Merrimack on Nov. 1.
Roufs acclimated to the Central lineup to contribute 1.81 kills per set and 0.89 blocks per set, while hitting .317, which rank seventh and fifth in the NEC, respectively. She posted a career-high 15 kills twice, including in a five-set loss to Robert Morris on Nov. 8. She narrowly missed a double-double against LIU on Oct. 25 when she totalled 10 blocks and nine kills. Named the Oct. 28 NEC Rookie of the Week after hitting .441 with 2.4 kills per set and 1.25 blocks per set.
Every match of the Northeast Conference championship will be carried live, and for free, on www.NECFrontRow.com.