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Volleyball Still Undefeated in NEC

By Brittany Burke

After coming off a tough win against the Providence Friars on Wednesday, the CCSU Blue Devils were able to walk away with yet another win in a match against the St. Francis (N.Y.) Terriers.

The NEC match against the Terriers (2-15, 1-6 NEC), helped elevate the Blue Devils in the rankings. After Sunday’s game against the Terriers, CCSU was undefeated in the Northeast Conference (6-0).

After Wednesday’s hard fought victory against the Friars the Blue Devils were able to come back and regain the momentum and energy they seemed to be lacking, which led to a sweep against the Terriers.

“[The energy] was there from the beginning,” said Head Coach Linda Sagnelli. “We’ve been working on that and we’ve been happy over the last couple of weeks because the team is focused on it. And now we’re really starting to play with momentum, play with energy, and it shows on the court.”

The energy and intensity felt by all of the athletes carried into their level and play. The errors they were making against Providence seemed a distant memory as they stepped out on to the court. Their ball control improved and there were minimal serving errors. The team was refusing to give up any easy points, which is what they were hoping for.

“We wanted to work on some things today like ball control, because when we played against Providence we made a lot of unforced errors,” Sagnelli said. “We had very few unforced errors today and took care of the ball so I was very proud to see that.”

The Blue Devils were able to incorporate every player in their three consecutive wins against the Terriers. It is that amount of team work that led CCSU to wins of 25-11 and two games of 25-15.

The CCSU athletes were consistently calling the balls they were after, moving as one unit and making steady passes to one another.

“Everybody played well today; we were able to get everybody into the match. It was a total team effort as far as executing on the court,” said Coach Sagnelli.

Freshman outside hitter Emily Cochran had an impressive game leading the team in kills. Sophomore Danielle Gasser (who, as of this match, leads the team in serves executed with 27) showed a lot of power in her serves, which is an area that Coach Sagnelli wanted improvement in.

The Terriers on the other hand were giving up points in open formations, running into one another and leaving balls untouched.

Number five on the Terriers, setter Maria Kashavelova, was briefly taken out of the game after collapsing on the court holding her right leg. She was mildly injured after a run in with Terriers’ libero Liliana Rodriguez.

“St. Francis did a good job today hustling. I think they are really fighters, and they really didn’t give up. But on the same note we really controlled the tempo and we controlled everything, which I absolutely love to see,” said Coach Sagnelli.

A real test for the Blue Devils will come during the home stretch of the 2009 season, where they play all but one non-Northeast Conference match against Rhode Island.

On Sunday, Oct. 18 the Blue Devils played Long Island University, the reigning NEC champions.

They are back on their home court at CCSU on Halloween, Saturday, Oct. 31 at 4 p.m. against Robert Morris. That match up will be the second between CCSU and Robert Morris (CCSU won the first meeting 3-2).