by Tyler Roaix
Fresh on the heals of a strong performance at the Hartford Invitational, the Central Connecticut volleyball team cruised to a 3-0 win over Iona College. The victory gives Central their third in a row, and sixth in their last seven matches.
The match against Iona was one of the strongest performances of the 2017 campaign for Central. They posted a .250 kill percentage, being their second highest of the year. Not only that, but a season-best 12 errors makes it one of their most efficient matches yet.
“We were just really steady all match,” said head coach Linda Sagnelli of her team. “We didn’t make a lot of mistakes. But even when we did, we let it go and rebounded.”
Freshman Sam McCreath had another strong match. She led the team with 10 kills and posted a .208 kill percentage, a solid mark considering her 24 kill attempts.
McCreath has been a student head coach Sagnelli has relied on all season long, despite this being her first year in college volleyball. “She has a lot of responsibility as an outside hitter who get a lot of kill opportunities. She struggled against Niagara but she has bounced back like a senior. It’s really impressive.”
Sophomore Madelyn Kaprelyan and junior Raquel Quirarte, also had a great match, adding seven and six kills, respectively. Quirarte added two service aces, tied for the match high.
Two days before the match, seniors Maddie Smith and Lindsey Massicotte were awarded the Northeastern Conference weekly honors, after their performances in the Hartford Invitational last week. Both players have had strong seasons thus far. Smith leads the NEC with a .413 kill percentage. Massicotte has been an anchor for Central’s defense so far. The Blue Devils top the NEC with 18.46 digs per set. Massicotte herself averages 5.19 per set, good for third among all NEC players, according to the conference website.
“They are so dedicated to this team,” Sagnelli said of Smith and Massicotte. “They get at it in every practice and every match. We have so many young players so, as captains; they have to set the tone. And they have done it so well so far.”
The win moves the Blue Devils to 7-3 on the year. But with over half the season remaining, Central still focuses on getting back to the postseason.
“I think we can win every match left on the schedule,” Sagnelli said. “But if we don’t play our game, we can get beaten. I also think we have a long way to go and a lot of room to grow. But I’m really happy with the start we have had.”
The Blue Devils begin NEC play this Friday, Sept. 22 at 7 p.m. when they take on defending conference champion LIU Brooklyn in the Kaiser Gym.