By Matthew Aveni
The women’s volleyball team has had an amazing beginning to NEC conference play this season, led by Seniors Emily Cochran, Jamie Rademacher and Blaike King.
During the offseason the Blue Devils Head Coach Linda Sagnelli brought in four new freshmen hoping they could fill some of the holes in their team. One freshman, Makenna Lommori, exceeded expectations for Sagnelli and is now running the Central offense.
Makenna has won four NEC Rookie of the Week honor, and “Best Setter” in the Temple Invitational. At the beginning of the season the Blue Devils were running a 6-2 offense. This style of offense allowed Lommori to be both a setter and a hitter. When Sagnelli switched the offense to a 5-1, Lommori was given complete control of the offense, being the main setter and touching the ball on every offensive possession. The change came after the CCSU Invitational.
“That week of practice we focused on making Makenna our primary setter. We thought with her skill set that she could lead the offense and it would really help our style of play for the rest of the team,” said Sagnelli.
After the tough week of practice the Blue Devils went into the University of New Hampshire Invitational with a hopeful outlook on their new style of play. Lommori performed extremely well in the tournament, earning, the award of “Best Setter” in the tournament award.
“I never go into a game thinking lets win an award this week. I try and set up my teammates to put us in the best position to win and I am starting to feel really comfortable in my role as the setter,” said Lommori.
This season the Lommori has recorded 552 assists. With each practice and game she is getting better, gaining more experience and evolving her role on this team, explained Sagnelli. With the change of offense occurring so early in the season the Blue Devils have had time to work out the flaws in the offense before NEC play began.
In NEC play the Blue Devils are 3-1 with their only loss coming against Robert Morris on Saturday. The newly implemented offense allows versatility to the Central game play. Blaike King, Jamie Rademacher and Emily Cochran now have more opportunities to record kills and keep teams guessing on who will be the main hitter.
“When a team has one main hitter the defense tries to contain that one player and put most of their focus towards stopping her. With Makenna being the primary setter it allows teams not to focus on stopping Emily, but worrying about three players that at any time can get on a streak of good hits,” said Sagnelli.
Lommori said she expects her team to win the NEC tournament because of how hard they have worked and how close they have become as a team.
“Coming from Nevada, this team has become my new family,” Lommori said. “We have worked really hard this season and I fully expect us to win the NEC tournament. It’s a goal of ours that we should achieve.”
With a tough week of NEC play the Blue Devils will travel to Sacred Heart University on Wednesday and Bryant on Saturday. They will finish the week playing at home against the Quinnipiac Bobcats.