Category Archives: Volleyball

CCSU Volleyball Teams Makes Comeback


By Rachael Bentley

The CCSU Volleyball team defeated St. Francis in a 3-1 match on Sunday, thanks to a strong showing from the team’s defense.

The Blue Devils won the first set (25-21) and the second set (25-13), but lost the third (28-26) in a back and forth set that required extra points. They made a comeback in the final set with a 25-12 win, which took the match.

Coach Linda Sagnelli credits the team’s win to the hard push from their defense to force SFPA to change their playing style.

“Once we realized that the other team played a majority with their middles, we asked our right sides to go ahead and help our middle to make them do something different,” Sagnelli said.

“Mackenna, without a doubt, shut everything down. She must have had three of four blocks against their middle,” said Sagnelli. “She did a great job at the net for us.”

The Blue Devils recorded 15 blocks as a team and they limited the Red Flash to a .097 hitting percentage.

Senior Jamie Rademacher and Freshman Mackenna Lommori led CCSU’s defense. Lommori posted a match-high 41 assists and 10 digs.

“Mackenna is such a heads up player,” said Sagnelli, “She is just a heads up player, and certainly plays much older than a freshman”.

The teams offense was spearheaded by senior Emily Cochran and sophomore Jamie Rademacher, who both recorded double-digit kills. Cochran recorded 12 kills and Rademacher recorded 11.  Rachel Dunlap also got 10 kills during the match.

“Yesterday, I felt like our offense let us down a little during crunch time, and I thought Robert Morris put better pressure consistently through out the match so we talked about that after the match yesterday,” Sagnelli explained. “We also made it one of our goals for today to never step back again, and to keep pushing and pushing.”

Coach Sagnelli could be heard shouting “Be aggressive” from the bleachers, a method that seemed to work in the team’s favor for this match against SFPA.

“I wish we had taken the match in three, and I think we sat back a little bit in the third set, but I am so happy with the way we came out in the fourth set and the offense really took it to them, and the defense set up a great block,” Sagnelli said.  “Today went awesome; we rebounded just the way I wanted us too.”

 

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Lommori Setting In With New Role

By Matthew Aveni

The women’s volleyball team has had an amazing beginning to NEC conference play this season, led by Seniors Emily Cochran, Jamie Rademacher and Blaike King.

During the offseason the Blue Devils Head Coach Linda Sagnelli brought in four new freshmen hoping they could fill some of the holes in their team.  One freshman, Makenna Lommori, exceeded expectations for Sagnelli and is now running the Central offense.

Makenna has won four NEC Rookie of the Week honor, and “Best Setter” in the Temple Invitational. At the beginning of the season the Blue Devils were running a 6-2 offense.  This style of offense allowed Lommori to be both a setter and a hitter.  When Sagnelli switched the offense to a 5-1, Lommori was given complete control of the offense, being the main setter and touching the ball on every offensive possession.  The change came after the CCSU Invitational.

“That week of practice we focused on making Makenna our primary setter.  We thought with her skill set that she could lead the offense and it would really help our style of play for the rest of the team,” said Sagnelli.

After the tough week of practice the Blue Devils went into the University of New Hampshire Invitational with a hopeful outlook on their new style of play.  Lommori performed extremely well in the tournament, earning, the award of “Best Setter” in the tournament award.

“I never go into a game thinking lets win an award this week.  I try and set up my teammates to put us in the best position to win and I am starting to feel really comfortable in my role as the setter,” said Lommori.

This season the Lommori has recorded 552 assists. With each practice and game she is getting better, gaining more experience and evolving her role on this team, explained Sagnelli. With the change of offense occurring so early in the season the Blue Devils have had time to work out the flaws in the offense before NEC play began.

In NEC play the Blue Devils are 3-1 with their only loss coming against Robert Morris on Saturday.  The newly implemented offense allows versatility to the Central game play. Blaike King, Jamie Rademacher and Emily Cochran now have more opportunities to record kills and keep teams guessing on who will be the main hitter.

“When a team has one main hitter the defense tries to contain that one player and put most of their focus towards stopping her. With Makenna being the primary setter it allows teams not to focus on stopping Emily, but worrying about three players that at any time can get on a streak of good hits,” said Sagnelli.

Lommori said she expects her team to win the NEC tournament because of how hard they have worked and how close they have become as a team.

“Coming from Nevada, this team has become my new family,” Lommori said. “We have worked really hard this season and I fully expect us to win the NEC tournament. It’s a goal of ours that we should achieve.”

With a tough week of NEC play the Blue Devils will travel to Sacred Heart University on Wednesday and Bryant on Saturday.  They will finish the week playing at home against the Quinnipiac Bobcats.

Blue Devils Suffer Defeat Against Robert Morris

By Derek Turner

The Blue Devils volleyball team dropped their first home conference match of the season Saturday with a 0-3 defeat at the hands of Robert Morris University.

With leads in every set and the largest margin of victory for RMU being four points in the first set, CCSU just let this one get away.

“It was a great match and I think we missed opportunities,” said Head Coach Linda Sagnelli. “I think we had opportunities in every single set to win that particular set and at crunch time we didn’t execute.”

The first set, like the entire match, was very close on the scoreboard, but CCSU led total attacks by nine. CCSU also had six additional errors which led to a four point run at the end of the set for Robert Morris en route to a 25-21 first set defeat.

“The passing was a little inconsistent, but then it picked back up again,” said Sagnelli.

The second set was more of the same hard-hitting volleyball with both teams recording 15 kills apiece. Again, CCSU had the advantage in the attack category, but couldn’t finish, making six errors.

The Blue Devils focused more on getting kills; Leader Emily Cochran had the opportunities to put the ball away, but she only recorded three kills in the set and eight on the day. CCSU dropped the second set 22-25.

The third set Robert Morris really took control. It didn’t seem that way if you were watching the scoreboard, but the intensity and hitting was definitely in their favor.

“We’re up 20-18 and then an unusual play happened which we should have handled, but we didn’t and it changed the momentum there and put them on a five-point run,” said Sagnelli after the 22-25 third set loss.

The Blue Devils offense did not get the job done in the third set, Sagnelli stated. In 36 opportunities, only 13 points were actually put on the board.

“It wasn’t what they were doing; it was what we were not doing when handling the ball,” said Sagnelli.

Freshman setter Makenna Lommori led the team with 33 assists on the day and her effort was noted by her coach as “phenomenal.”

Middle Blocker Rachel Dunlap led the team in kills with 10, followed by Cochran with eight. Both Blaike King and Rademacher each had seven.

Sagnelli knew Robert Morris was going to come out swinging led by outside hitter Lindsey Monger and opposite Amanda Craig; Her team just didn’t execute in “crunch-time.”

“This was a hard-hitting match. It was a lot of good defensive touches, a lot of good net play,” said Sagnelli. “We’ve got seniors on the court that have to make the execution and it just didn’t happen.”

Volleyball Loses Three Straight In Temple Invitational

Kenny Barto: The Recorder

By Matthew Aveni

The Blue Devils volleyball team played in their final weekend tournament of the season at the Temple Invitational.  The Blue Devils were set to face Temple, Navy and Cornell in the games.  The Blue Devils finished the tournament in three losses.  The three losses push the Blue Devils record to 5-8 on the season.

The first game of the tournament the Blue Devils faced versus Temple. Central seemed to be carrying over their momentum from the New Hampshire Invitational as they took the first set from the Owls with long service runs from freshman Makenna Lommori and senior Blaike King.  This momentum was short lived as Temple won three straight to finish the match.  The Blue Devils were led by King in kills as she recorded thirteen kills.  Brittany Schumacher led the defensive force for the Blue Devils and had eighteen digs.

“Brittany is a workaholic.  She has improved her game so much from last year and we hope she will keep moving forward with her game.  She is very sharp and competitive and that energy she brings keeps the team up during game,” said Blue Devil head coach Linda Sagnelli.

Day two of the tournament for the Blue Devils was much of the same as day one. The team could not pull together and string together points to get the win.

In the second match, the Blue Devils went up against Cornell.  Cornell put together two wins (25-20) and (25-19) and Central on the ropes for the rest of the match.  The Blue Devils pulled out a close third set win (25-23), but Cornell closed out the match with a dominating (25-13) victory.  Blaike King again led the offense with fourteen kills.

“A lot of mistakes were creeping into our game and that’s not like us. It shows us what we need to work on and what parts we really need to improve,” said Sagnelli.

The third and final game of the tournament was no improvement for the Blue Devils.

“It was like swimming in mud, there was a lot of effort we just weren’t accomplishing much,” explained Sagnelli.

Central was beat in three straight sets versus Navy (25-18),(26-24) and (25-22).  Senior Captain Emily Cochran led the offense for the Blue Devils with ten kills and she only recorded two errors in the final match.

Finishing the third game of the tournament with a loss left the Blue Devils winless for the tournament.

“We did not play up to the level of play we did last weekend,” said Sagnelli on her teams play.

The one bright spot for the Blue Devils was freshman Makenna Lommori won setter of the tournament.  This is huge going into NEC play for the Blue Devils because she is a vital part of their offense being the setter.  Sagnelli does not want to dwell on the tournament with their first NEC game of the year coming up versus the St. Francis (N.Y).

Sagnelli said, “The future is ahead and we are really looking forward to go to St. Francis and start our NEC schedule.”

 

CCSU Volleyball Team Wins Academic Award

By Rachael Bentley

If one were to walk into the Academic Center for Student Athletes in the library on a Monday morning, they might be surprised to find that all of the seats in the study hall were filled.

Student Athletes are required to attend a certain amount of study hall hours each week. Each team has their own academic advisor, and athletes are provided with tutors for all subjects.

It’s policies and services like this that helped the CCSU Volleyball team win the American Volleyball Coaches academic award.

“I couldn’t be more proud of them, not only for this current team, but for all the teams these past six years,” Volleyball Coach Linda Sagnelli said. “When they won this six years ago it was very difficult, but they have managed to keep the tradition alive.”

The volleyball team is the only Connecticut state school team to receive this award. Other recipients include schools such as Brown, Harvard, Marist, Yale and Stanford University.

CCSU is one of 536 volleyball teams to achieve the award for the 2011-2012 seasons, according to the AVCA website. This year the AVCA broke the record with 536 teams being honored for academic excellence. The previous mark was in 2010-2012, with 481 school teams achieved the awards.

The award, which was initiated in the 1992-93 academic year, honors collegiate and high school volleyball teams that display excellence in the classroom during the school year by maintaining at least a 3.30 cumulative team grade point average on a 4.0 scale.

“While it is undeniable that the sport we coach is zero-sum on the scoreboard, it is a tool for empowerment on other fronts,” said AVCA Executive Director Kathy DeBoer. “The coaches whose teams won this academic award understand the value of both playing to win and winning through play. A well-deserved congratulations to each team and coach.”

The NCAA Division I teams make up 19.14 percent of the recipients of the awards with 103 teams to win the award.

Sagnelli credits some of the success of her team to the services provided by Kevin Oliva, Director of ACSA and the team’s personal academic advisor.

“Kevin does a wonderful job of creating an environment in the academic center which promotes learning, and the athletes that are either freshman or incoming transfers are required to do a certain amount of hours each week down in the academic center,” said Sagnelli.

“When we travel we give the athletes the option to do study halls, and those hours can also count towards the requirement,” Sagnelli continued.

But despite all of the excellent services offered to the athletes, Sagnelli said that in the end it all comes down to the student’s initiative.

“I think the support services are phenomenal. Each team has their own academic advisor but the bottom line is that it all comes down to the student athletes,” said Sagnelli. “They have a great work ethic in the classroom and I think it shows. They set the bar really high for themselves and they work really hard to achieve success in the classroom.”