Volleyball Adds Depth with 2018 Recruits

by Sean Begin

When Central Connecticut volleyball takes the court again in the fall, it’ll be without the presence of seniors Veronika Ban and Amalia Ashley. They will, however, feature four freshman recently signed by head Coach Linda Sagnelli, all of whom add depth to a team fresh off its second straight conference finals appearance.

“Our program has a high standard for athletic and academic success, and we are proud of the academic and athletic performance of  this incoming class,” said Sagnelli in a statement released through the athletic department.

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Volleyball Falls In NEC Championship Match

by Sean Begin
Brooklyn, New York –
For the Central Connecticut volleyball team, a successful season ended with a difficult defeat at the hands of Long Island University-Brooklyn last Sunday in the Northeast Conference Championship game at Long Island.

The Blue Devils (21-9) fell in straight sets to the Blackbirds (23-7) by scores of 25-12, 25-19 and 25-14, who finished an unbeaten season in the NEC. It was Central’s third loss to LIU this season.

“We knew we were the underdog coming in here but we weren’t thinking that way,” said Coach Linda Sagnelli. “I told my athletes not to hang their heads because the work that they put in… nothing should take away everything that they’ve done this season.”
The loss ends what was otherwise a successful season for Central women’s volleyball. After opening the season losing five of the first seven games, the Blue Devils ran off a string of seven wins.
Following losses to LIU and Saint Francis Brooklyn, Central would go on another winning streak, this time of ten games, which was ended with the teams’ second loss of the season to Long Island.

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Central Volleyball Splits Weekend Games

By Sean Begin
With a spot in the Northeast Conference tournament already secure, the only impact the weekend’s games meant for the volleyball team was seeding.
Wins over Long Island University-Brooklyn and Saint Francis-Brooklyn, coupled with an LIU loss to Bryant on Sunday, would secure the number one seed for Central in the NEC tournament.
Central (20-8, 11-3 NEC) finished the regular season by recording their 20th win of the season in a 3-0 sweep over Saint Francis-Brooklyn (7-25, 3-11 NEC) on Sunday.
“That was one of our goals, to get the win today. We wanted to have this as a 20 win season and they accomplished that goal which is awesome,” said Coach Linda Sagnelli.
But a 3-0 loss to Long Island (21-7, 14-0 NEC) on Saturday ended the Blue Devils’ chances at bringing the tournament home.
“I think we were in a fog,” said Sagnelli. “We got a little too amped up for that game and it drained them [the players] emotionally when the game actually came.”
The loss snapped Central’s 10-game winning streak and ended their perfect record at home.
Central’s offense struggled against the Blackbirds, recording just 27 kills as a team, led by sophomore Heather Trueman’s 11, hitting just .129 as a team. Sophomore Makenna Lommori assisted on all of Central’s kills
“We had a couple mistakes here and there but when you’re playing against a team that makes very few mistakes, you can’t make more than they make. And that’s what happened,” said Sagnelli.
The loss ensured that the NEC tournament will be held at LIU this weekend, with CCSU taking the second seed overall, and that Sunday’s game against Saint Francis-Brooklyn would have no postseason impact.
Central and SFBK spent the majority of the match on Sunday exchanging points, but the Blue Devils managed to find just enough offense to get the win.
“We had a hard time finding our rhythm early on and our passing was a little inconsistent,” said Sagnelli. “We found just enough rhythm to be able to do what we needed to do today.”
Trueman and freshman Cassidy Stankowski led Central’s offense against the Terriers. Trueman recorded 15 kills on 23 attacks with no errors, posting a huge .652 hitting percentage. Stankowski added 14 kills of her own.
Seven players recorded an assist in the match led by 33 from Lommori, who also posted five kills and three digs. Freshman Rachel Fish led the team with 11 digs.
Central now sets its sights on the NEC tournament this weekend. The Blue Devils will face Sacred Heart University in the semifinals on Saturday while LIU will play Robert Morris University in the other semifinal.
“We have to focus on whomever we’re playing,” said Sagnelli, adding “As coaches we prepare for both [the final and semifinal] but for the team we really prepare them more for the semifinal match because without winning that one there is no finals.”

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Volleyball Extends Win Streak

By Sean Begin

The Central Connecticut volleyball team extended their Northeast Conference win streak to eight games on Saturday with a 3-1 victory over Bryant University.
The win was the second by Central (17-7, 8-2 NEC) over Bryant (8-21, 3-7 NEC) this season and extended the Blue Devils unbeaten record at Detrick Gym.
“The team chemistry has grown so much after a bad weekend when we opened up [NEC play] in the New York City schools and started 0-2,” said Coach Linda Sagnelli. “We did a lot of reflecting and changed a bunch of things and it’s worked ever since.”
The two losses that weekend are the only losses for Central in the last 17 games but Sagnelli says those losses “did more good for this team than anything else.”
The Blue Devils were led by sophomore Heather Trueman, who recorded a career high 20 kills with just two errors hitting .429 for the match.
“She had an outstanding performance. Today is why we had her working on hitting the line [in practice],” said Sagnelli. “She’s becoming a more complete outside hitter as these weeks go by. It’s going to happen where one day Heather becomes one of the best outside hitters in the conference.”
The Blue Devils won the final two sets of the match by scores of 25-9 and 25-17. Central outscored Bryant 16-8 in the final set to win after the Bulldogs had come back to tie the match at nine.
The Blue Devils opened the third set with eight straight points after dropping the second match 25-21. Central was down by as many as seven points in the second set and managed to pull to within one of tying the Bulldogs.
“We sat back. I think we lost mental focus, mental toughness,” said Sagnelli. “Everything that we talk about and try and maintain, we lost it.”
“In between [sets], I said here’s a great opportunity for you to regain that [focus] now because we’re going to be in tough situations as we go forward,” added Sagnelli of her team’s third set turnaround.
The Blue Devils had easily taken the first set 25-10 before going down to Bryant 12-5 to start the second set.
Central was led defensively by freshmen Cassidy Stankowski and Rachel Fish who recorded 15 and 10 digs, respectively. Junior Rachel Dunlap led the team with six block assists. Sophomore Makenna Lommori finished with a team-high 40 assists.
The Blue Devils will hit the road this weekend for two games against. They play at Sacred Heart on Saturday, Nov. 9 and at Farleigh Dickinson Sunday, Nov. 10.
“We have to prepare a lot going into Sacred Heart and FDU. Sacred Heart is very tough to play in their gym,” said Sagnelli. “We’ll be watching a lot of film this week on Sacred Heart and FDU.”
Central wraps up the regular season the following weekend at home against Saint Francis-Brooklyn and LIU-Brooklyn, the only two conference teams to beat them this season.

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Student-Athletes Reach Out

By Paige Brown

Student athletes all around campus are becoming more involved in the community. The teams are working with groups locally and nationally to help in all different ways.

The CCSU student-athlete community outreach program is reaching all mediums of volunteerism, from reading to elementary children to hosting matches to raise awareness for breast cancer.

“We get a lot of calls from around the state asking for our student-athletes to be involved,” said Molly McCarthy, Assistant Athletic Director for Compliance & Student Services. “The word got out that our students were interested.”

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Blue Devils Think Pink

By Paige Brown

The month of October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and sports all around CCSU’s campus are showing their pink pride in support.

The homecoming football game included more than the usual blue and white colors; splashes of pink streaked across the field throughout the game. The players wore pink armbands, braces, tape, sweatbands and socks, some even with words of inspiration written on them.

“Wearing pink means a lot to me,” said Andrew Clements, senior quarterback for the Central football team. “It goes to show that my teammates and I are sympathetic towards the indiviuals and families of those diagnosed with breast cancer.”

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