by Tyler Roaix
The Central Connecticut State University volleyball team fell to Bryant University this past weekend, three sets to one, dropping their record to 8-6 overall and 1-2 in Northeastern Conference play.
The win for Bryant puts them at 12-8 overall, including 3-0 in conference matches. The Bulldogs have yet to drop a match at home, perfect through their first nine matches on their own court.
Bryant now sits tied with Robert Morris atop the NEC standings very early in conference play. Central is tied for fifth place with Sacred Heart.
This match looked very similar to the meeting between the two squads in 2016.
Both teams went on runs during the match. Bryant scored five unanswered points on their way to a first-set victory. Central did the same in the second set and battled their way to a 9-9 tie in the third set, but it was all Bryant after that. The Bulldogs used a 13-3 run on their way to winning the third set handily. Central then jumped out to a lead in the fourth set, 15-9. They held on to the lead as late as 21-17, looking to push it to a deciding fifth. But Bryant won eight of the last 10 points to win the set, 25-23, winning the match.
Senior Maddie Smith, led the Blue Devil offense with 12 kills. Smith was the only player on the team to reach double-digit kills in the match. Freshman Emma Henderson added eight kills, while junior Raquel Quirarte and sophomore Morgan Woycik each added seven.
Despite taking a set, it was a struggle for Central from start to finish. CCSU had 27 errors on the match and a low .107 kill percentage. On the other side, Bryant had 22 errors and a .219 kill percentage.
Junior Julia Flynn and senior Ally Lunsford, completely dominated the match for the Bulldogs. They posted 17 and 14 kills respectively, leading the Bryant offense. Lunsford’s .414 kill percentage was the third highest of the match and the best among players with more than six total attempts.
Bryant also played well defensively. With 66 digs and 12 total team blocks, the Bulldogs made it tough for CCSU to score.
Central will get an opportunity for a rematch on Oct. 20 when Bryant visits New Britain to play Central.
The Blue Devils will look to rebound when they continue NEC play Friday, Oct. 6 on the road against Sacred Heart, who knocked Central out of the playoffs last year. Following that, Central will travel to New Jersey to take on Fairleigh Dickinson on Saturday.