By Brittany Burke
With a new season beginning the Central Connecticut State women’s volleyball team was hoping to come out with a win, but that was not the case this weekend against the Manhattan Jaspers.
In match one of the CCSU Blue Devil Invitational the Devils worked hard but fell short ending the match in favor of Manhattan.
The game against the Jaspers was the kick off to both the 2009 Blue Devils season and the CCSU Invitational. Just because they did not win does not mean that the game was not a success. The 3-2 series loss “showed a lot and exposed our weaknesses,” explained head Coach Linda Spagnelli; who is starting her tenth season with the Devils.
The defeat helped show the Devils exactly what they needed to work on to improve their game for the rest of the season. After this loss Coach Spagnelli and Assistant Coach Greg Shell plan to, “go over weaknesses and focus.”
In game one of the five-game match CCSU was able to set the pace by quickly getting points on the board leading the Jaspers 3-0. Once the Jaspers were able to come back and score their own points the game really took off. The momentum seemed to build in both the players and the spectators with each long volley, block and spiked attempt.
The energy improved and the score was tied at many different intervals throughout course of the night. The final tie came when both teams showed the number 18 on the scoreboard. Central fought to the end but could not come back from the deficit of 25-22, giving a game one victory to Manhattan.
The Devils seemed to really find their game’s rhythm in the second and third games of the series. Once again the Devils were able to make a statement by putting points on the board first but the Jaspers were not going to let the Devil’s lead increase without a fight.
For every point the Devils scored the Jaspers were able to come back and tie. Eventually once the Jaspers managed to gain an advantage the Devils were able to tie 7-7. By the time the game had gotten to 25 it was in favor of Central, leading 25-21 and tying the series at one a piece.
The chemistry and teamwork that Coach Spagnelli had noticed in the preseason was also evident in the opener. Girls were calling the attempts they were making and they seemed to really follow through if they called a ball. The teamwork helped the Devils take their second consecutive win against the Jaspers 25-22, which put them ahead in the series.
The fourth game was filled with hope and emotion; if the Devils won the next game they would win the series, but if they lost they would be forced to play a tie-breaking fifth game. Unfortunately for the Devils, the latter of the two scenarios happened.
The Manhattan Jaspers were able to come out on top against the Central Blue Devils and win the fourth game by a score of 25-21. “Manhattan has a great defense and scrambles the ball well,” observed Coach Spagnelli.
It was in the fourth game that Coach Spagnelli began to notice a loss of focus in her team. Her team was missing serves and losing the tightness of their unit. She pointed out that in the fourth game Manhattan was spot on and missed zero serves while her team missed six.
This, in the Coach’s opinion, is where they lost the game. By the time fifth was in motion it was too late for the Devils to recover whatever they had lost. Even with the spectacular play of the student athletes the Devils still lost 15-8 ending the series with a 3-2 record.
While a defeat in the season opener is not what she was hoping for Coach Spagnelli did not seem disappointed in the efforts that the girls made. She was happy with the fact that “70 percent of the time we had great flow and court movement.”
This game was a good foundation for the rest of the season. With a loss already behind them the team can set their focus on the next game in the invitational against New Jersey Institute of Technology, Saturday Sept. 5 at 1:30 p.m. and eventually an NEC title later in the season.