Category Archives: Sports

NBA Season Preview

by Kyle Flynn
To recap the insanity that was the most exciting NBA offseason maybe ever, Dwyane Wade, Isaiah Thomas and Derrick Rose are Cavaliers, Carmelo Anthony and Paul George are in Oklahoma City, Jimmy Butler is a Timberwolf, and Chris Paul is blasting off in Houston. This does not even begin to describe how much the landscape of the league has changed in just a few short, hot months.

With opening night on Tuesday, teams are wrapping up their respective preseason games and getting ready for show time.

Here are some of the key transactions that were made in the NBA offseason:

– C Timofey Mozgov, PG D’Angelo Russell traded to Brooklyn Nets for C Brook Lopez, No. 27 pick.

– C Dwight Howard, No. 31 pick (Frank Jackson) to Charlotte Hornets

PF Miles Plumlee, SG Marco Belinelli, No. 41 pick (Tyler Dorsey) to Atlanta Hawks

– G/F Jimmy Butler, 2017 No. 16 pick (Justin Patton) to Minnesota Timberwolves

PG/SG Zach LaVine, PG Kris Dunn, 2017 No. 7 pick (Lauri Markkanen) to Chicago Bulls

– PG Chris Paul traded to the Houston Rockets for PG Patrick Beverley, SG Lou Williams, F Sam Dekker, F Montrezl Harrell, SF Darrun Hilliard, G/F DeAndre Liggins, F Kyle Wiltjer, 2018 protected 1st-round pick, Cash considerations to Los Angeles Clippers

– G/F Paul George to Oklahoma City Thunder

SG/SF Victor Oladipo, PF/C Domantas Sabonis to Indiana Pacers

-F Carmelo Anthony to Oklahoma City Thunder

-C Enes Kanter, F Doug McDermott, 2018 2nd-round pick to Chicago Bulls

-G Kyrie Irving to Boston Celtics

G Isaiah Thomas, F Jae Crowder, F Ante Zizic, 2018 1st-round pick to Cleveland Cavaliers

-Jeff Teague signs with the Minnesota Timberwolves

-Derrick Rose signs with the Cleveland Cavaliers

-Dwyane Wade signs with the Cleveland Cavaliers

-Paul Millsap signs with the Denver Nuggets

-Rudy Gay signs with the San Antonio Spurs

-Gordon Hayward signs with the Boston Celtics

Regular Season Predictions:

Western Conference:

1. Golden State Warriors

2. Houston Rockets

3. Oklahoma City Thunder

4. San Antonio Spurs

5. Denver Nuggets

6. Minnesota Timberwolves

7. Dallas Mavericks

8. Portland Trail Blazers

Eastern Conference:

1. Cleveland Cavaliers

2. Boston Celtics

3. Washington Wizards

4. Toronto Raptors

5. Milwaukee Bucks

6. Philadelphia 76ers

7. Miami Heat

8. Charlotte Hornets

Regular Season Awards:

Most Valuable Player: James Harden

Rookie of the Year: Dennis Smith

Defensive Player of the Year: Kawhi Leonard

Coach of the Year: Brad Stevens

Most Improved Player: D’Angelo Russell

NBA Champion: Golden State Warriors

Runner up: Cleveland Cavaliers

With a now even more loaded Western Conference and an even more top heavy Eastern Conference, we are now on a collision course to repeat the same matchup in the NBA Finals for the fourth straight season.

Big rookie names like Lonzo Ball, Dennis Smith and Jayson Tatum look to make their mark on the league, as veteran players and all the stars continue their chase at the NBA throne.

You can catch the start of the season this coming week as most teams start their seasons between Tuesday, Oct. 17 and Thursday, Oct. 19.

Volleyball Stretches Win Streak To Four

by Tyler Roaix

The Central volleyball team played a pair of important matches against Saint Francis University and Robert Morris. CCSU entered the weekend tied for third in the NEC with both the Re Flash and the Colonials.

The Blue Devils opened the weekend with a 3-0 sweep of Saint Francis, in what head coach Linda Sagnelli called her team’s best match of the season so far.

Central dropped the first point of the match, but they quickly won four straight points to take the lead. The Blue Devils never trailed again, as they were in complete control throughout.

With freshman Samantha McCreath out due to injury, the Blue Devils needed the rest of the team to step up. Fortunately for Central, every player on the court was able to produce.

Central led a very balanced attack on offense against the Red Flash. Freshman Emma Henderson, sophomore Morgan Woycik and junior Raquel Quirarte, all had seven kills to lead the Blue Devil attack. Sophomore Madelyn Kaprelyan added six kills, while freshman Eline van Heijningen and senior Maddie Smith each had five kills to round out Central’s offense.

The Blue Devils also managed five service aces on the night, three coming from Henderson. Saint Francis failed to have any aces.

“We are fortunate to have such a deep team. Madelyn (Kaprelyan) and Morgan (Woycik) are such great opp’s (opposites) that we run a 6-2 system so well,” Sagnelli said of her offense. “But Emma (Henderson) was stellar tonight as well. Our setters were phenomenal. We got it from everyone and that is what we are all about.”

The 6-2 system refers to a style of offense common in volleyball. In this type of offense, a team uses six players as attackers and two players as setters.

After the match, Sagnelli said how the team has been working hard on the offensive end in practice. “We keep getting better and better offensively,” Sagnelli said. “And with us being a young team, we have kept reinforcing it and our players are gaining a lot of confidence.”

On the defensive end, CCSU controlled the match around the net, tallying 10 total team blocks. Saint Francis managed six. Blocking has been the highlight of Central’s defense in 2017. They lead the NEC by a wide margin with 189. Bryant is second with 173.5.

Central closed out the weekend with a 3-1 victory over the Robert Morris Colonials to secure it’s fourth consecutive win, and five of the last six matches.

The Blue Devils jumped out to a quick 2-0 set lead and looked like they would cruise to another sweep. But Robert Morris dominated Central in the third with an easy 25-15 set win.

“I don’t know what the heck happened in that third set,” Sagnelli said. “It just seemed like we assumed we would win and were waiting for points to happen.”

But CCSU got back to business in the fourth set. Despite a late push from the Colonials, Central would hold their ground, winning 25-21 to clinch the match.

Quirarte led the CCSU offense with 14 kills. Henderson and Kaprelyan posted 13 kills and 10 kills, respectively. The Blue Devils also set a new season-high with a .304 kill percentage.

McCreath was sidelined for the second straight match with an ankle injury. The freshman in unsure exactly when the injury occurred, but it has been bothering her for the past couple of weeks. Sagnelli decided to sit her out for the weekend as a precautionary measure.

CCSU moves to 12-6 overall and 5-2 in NEC play, with the weekend sweep. They are tied with LIU Brooklyn for second-place in the conference.

Central plays just one match this weekend, but it will be their toughest of the season. They host top-ranked Bryant on Friday, Oct. 20 at 7:00 p.m. Bryant is out to its best NEC-start in school history, currently at 6-1, according the the Bulldogs website.

“We were off our game the last time we were up there,” Sagnelli said of the Blue Devils’ 3-1 loss to Bryant on Sept. 29. “We are hitting our stride at a great time, so we are really looking forward to playing them again.”

Senior Spotlight: Jevon Elmore

by Tyler Roaix

The life of any college student is never easy, as we all know. Everyone struggles at some point in their college career, but adding athletics onto that is a whole other challenge. One Blue Devil who knows that better than anyone is senior Jevon Elmore, who has had one of the toughest paths of any student-athlete to suit up.

Elmore came to Central Connecticut State University as a freshman with a lot of potential, in both football and track. He earned spots on multiple All-Area teams as a high school football player. He also came in as one of the best sprinters in high school track in Connecticut, winning the CT Class 100-meter sprint.

But Elmore faced setbacks when he was sidelined for all of 2016. According to Tom Pincince, Assistant Athletics Director for Communication and Media Services. Elmore was out of school last year, making him ineligible to participate in athletics.

“The year off was definitely weird. It felt like I was with a whole new team. But the guys just brought me in, players and coaching staff. But football is football. I stayed in shape and the transition was pretty good. But just being out here on Arute [Field] and being out here with these guys, wearing this blue, it’s so special.”

Elmore has been an anchor for the Blue Devils when he was on the field. He contributed 151 total tackles in his first three seasons, an impressive number for a defensive back. His 71 tackles in 2015 were good for third on the team, and earned him a spot on the All-NEC First Team.

So many student athletes like Elmore go through struggles trying to balance schoolwork with athletics.

Going through a typical day, Elmore shared how he starts his day early with defensive meetings and weight training. He is back out on the practice field at three o’clock and there until six or seven at night. Then he has to find time to do all of his homework and any other school related activities.

“It’s so hard. People complain saying we get special privileges and how we don’t deserve scholarships and this and that,” Elmore said.

He continued to share the things people outside of the athletics community say about the commodities athletes are given. “But we put in so many hours whether it’s film or at practice or in the weight room. And then we have to compensate for our bodies getting tired, staying up late, waking up early, studying, doing homework. And we are doing all that while preparing for our games. Psychologically, it’s a lot to take in, but that’s why we play the game. That’s why we are student-athletes. We have to find a way to balance it.”

When discussing advice he would have for a freshman, Elmore used his personal experiences as a driving force. “Trust the process. Fall in love with the process. Whether it’s summer training or maybe taking summer classes or just being up here, spending all these hours on the field. Just trust it.”

Elmore also reiterated the need for younger players to stay patient.

“You’re young. You want to play right away. You want to do this and that and make your family proud. But it’s all a process. You get faster. You get stronger. You get to learn the playbook. You just get that much more comfortable on the field. Stick to what the coaches are telling you. Don’t rush it and just take it all in, because it’s a crazy ride.”

Reflecting on his career, Elmore shared that the best moment of his career was the Homecoming game in 2015. Central picked up a big win over Bryant, 35-33. Elmore had three tackles and a key interception in that game to help the Blue Devils.

Elmore’s time at CCSU has been nothing short of a roller-coaster ride. But the life of a student-athlete never is easy. This is what sparks the debate of whether or not athletes should be paid. Either way, student-athletes will always face challenges regular students just do not see. Jevon Elmore knows those struggles more than anyone.

“Every game obviously is important. But it’s my senior year so every game I get I’m just grateful to be out here.”

Ashley Cavanaugh: Accomplishing her goals on and off the field

by Kimberly Pena

Soccer has always been a way of life for Central Connecticut State University women’s soccer team goalie, Ashley Cavanaugh. She has been playing the sport since she was six years old with two of her three sisters in her hometown Belchertown, Massachusetts.

“One of them was actually a goalkeeper too, and the other one played a little bit of goal keeper, but not as much,” Cavanaugh said. “Me and one of my other sisters went to SoccerPlus camps together for years, probably like five years and we both pushed each other so hard.”

But it was her father, Joe Cavanaugh, who pushed his daughter to reach her full potential. Cavanaugh explains it was her father’s continuous support that put her in the position of being CCSU’s goalie, succeeding former Blue Devils superstar Nicki Turley.

Cavanaugh began her first two years as a Blue Devil as a second-string goalie to Turley. In the 2017-18 season and her junior year, she took over the full-time duties as goalie. Although everything has not been perfect for Cavanaugh, it has been a learning experience that she has taken with stride.

“I grow everyday as a player,” Cavanaugh said. “I feel like I have learned a lot from her (Turley) and I kind of carried that into now my junior year and I feel like Hannah (Page) and Rachel (DeBellis), the sophomore and freshman goalkeepers, I feel that they learn from me and I learn from them and I feel like it is nice to keep that rolling.”

Cavanaugh, who is an MA native, decided to come to CCSU because several of her friends from SoccerPlus played at Central, and it was not too far away from home. It also did not hurt that CCSU women’s soccer team head coach Mick D’Arcy, was a coach of Cavanaugh during her years at SoccerPlus, easing the coach-player relationship.

One thing Cavanaugh says that she learned from D’Arcy is to keep the growth mindset, and it has been a message that D’Arcy has spread to the whole team.

“We want the whole team to come out with a growth mindset,” Cavanaugh said. “If we are down a goal, we don’t want to play like we’re down a goal. We are going to win regardless that should be the mindset there. Try hard for everything and work together.”

Cavanaugh and the team are off to a 7-7 record and are 3-2 in conference play. The team got off to a rough start within the conference, making the task of playing forward that much more difficult because the team needs to be perfect from here on out, according to Cavanaugh.

However, she feels it is a task that the team can conquer because of their ability to pull for one another. With only two seasons remaining as a Blue Devil, she hopes to end it the only way she knows how: winning.

“Ultimately the goal is to make the tournament and when we make it to the tournament, the goal is to win the tournament.”

Men’s Soccer Splits Two Conference Games

by Patrick Gustavson

Central Connecticut’s men’s soccer team fell to LIU Brooklyn in a double overtime thriller on Friday, by the score of 3-2.

It was all Blue Devils in the first half, dominating the pace and creating multiple opportunities. They capitalized in minute 32, when DeShawn Parker scored off a cross from Ryan Taylor. The goal is Parker’s third in the last two games.

The Blackbirds came out strong to start the second half, with a score from Naeem Charles on a free kick. Head coach Shaun Green, then began preaching passion and hard work for his team.

“Emotionally, it’s an area where we still need to develop. We have a lot of similar personalities on our squad. What you must have is two or three guys on the team who are driving the team, not physically, but verbally, and we’re working on that,” Green said.

The Blackbirds goal sparked the Blue Devils, who played with far more intensity and retook the lead when defender Filippo Pirola slid through the defense on a corner kick and punched it through for the goal, just his second one of the season.

Just when it appeared the Blue Devils had the game won, a penalty was called in the box with just under three minutes left to play in regulation, much to the dismay of the Blue Devils bench. Rasmus Hansen buried a shot past goalkeeper Carson D’Ambrosio, tying the game for the Blackbirds.

Following a scoreless first overtime period, it appeared the game was destined to finished in a draw. With just under three minutes to play in the second overtime, Chris Solbakken scored on a header on a corner kick.

Despite the loss, Green was pleased with his team’s performance. “We’ve been playing well, and LIU has been one of the perennial teams in the conference over the last couple of years. We had them for a large portion of the game, so I’m not that concerned about our performance. They did everything but score that goal, but I think we outplayed them in overtime. It’s the cruelty of soccer: you can outplay a team and end up losing.”

The Blue Devils then traveled to Sacred Heart on Sunday, where they shut out the Pioneers en route to a 1-0 victory.

The lone goal of the game was scored by midfielder Andres Muriel Albino, in minute 43. Following a two-goal performance against Saint Francis U, Albino has being named NEC offensive player of the week.

However, it was the defense that propelled the Blue Devils to victory. They limited the Pioneers to just ten shots on the day, with none on goal, leaving D’Ambrosio to record zero saves in the shutout effort.

Following the pair of games, the Blue Devils are now 5-7-2 overall, and 2-2 in NEC conference play, placing them right in the thick of things.

Looking forward, Green believes they are contenders in the NEC and that they need to stick to their game plan. “Our goal is to get in the playoffs. Once we get in the playoffs, we’ll reestablish our goals. But all those goals are secondary until we reach the playoffs.”