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CCSU Volleyball Dominates Quinnipiac

By Rachael Bentley

The Blue Devils defeated the Quinnipiac Bobcats in three sets this Sunday, making this its fourth straight win of the season and bringing its Northeast Conference play to 6-1.

The players struggled to hit their groove during the first five points of the first set, but after a strong comeback by their passing, they were able to take control of the court and defeat Quinnipiac 25-16.

Volleyball Coach Linda Sagnelli explained that the game was “a Central kind of game”.

“Today we wanted them to take control of the tempo of the match,” explained Sagnelli.  “After the first five points in the first set we got our rhythm going and then we took command of the match. Our passing started off all over the place, and Makenna (Lommori) couldn’t get in system, but once we got in system, I feel it was the offense that took over. But it was because of the first pass.”

On offense, Senior Blaike King led the team with eight kills, with Senior Jamie Rademacher close behind with seven kills. Emily Cochran and Rachel Dunlap each had six. The Blue Devils posted a team hitting percentage of .329 for the match.

Makenna Lommori  assisted on 29 of the team’s 33 kills in the match, which Sagnelli attributes to the team’s great passing.

“Passing is the name of the game,” said Sagnelli. “If you can’t pass, you can’t play. I think all of the passers did a great job of settling down, taking a deep breath and saying ‘okay, we got this, not let’s do it.’ As they settled down the offense started clicking and Makenna did her thing. It all just worked.”

According to Sagnelli, the team’s main focus during Sundays game was to work on tempo after a tough match against Bryant that made the Blue Devils work hard for their win.

“I think the team is doing a great job,” said Sagnelli.  “The team focus was great and the energy was phenomenal. It was a hard hitting and great defensive match but you could see we had that edge to us.”

The team has improved with each week, thanks to the small group work that they do every  Tuesday and Wednesday. When each player develops as a player it makes the team stronger, according to Sagnelli.

If the team continutes playing the way it did on Sunday, Sagnelli thinks their chances at winning the NEC championship are high. The team is scheduled to play division leader LIU Brooklyn away on Sunday.

                                                   Rachael Bentley-The Recorder

CCSU Blue Devils won its fourth straight game Sunday


CCSU Hockey Wins At Home And Falls On The Road

By Brittany Burke

It was nothing but hockey for CCSU’s club team this past weekend in which the team won its two home games before dropping the third on the road against Marist.

The weekend began with the 5-3 defeat of the eighth-ranked Bryant club team. The Blue Devils were coming into the weekend just six days removed from the 8-2 loss to the number one team in the Northeast, William Paterson.

“[William Paterson] seemed to couple their goals with us, when they get one they get three, so if we lapse for two minutes we’re down five, six goals like that, just real quick and we just did a better job of maintaining our composure after we gave up a goal tonight,” said defenseman Adam Goldstein.

The Blue Devils played a strong opening 20 minutes, controlling the puck and getting chances in their attack zone, unlike the game against William Paterson. In the first alone, CCSU outshot Bryant 16-6 and got on the board first with a goal from Dustin Rider. With John Palmieri in net the Bull Dogs were shut out until the second.

While the first and third periods were strong for CCSU, the team lapsed in the second. Andrew Mazurkiewicz managed to get CCSU on the board with a second goal, but penalties allowed Bryant to climb back and tie the game at two.

Both times Bryant scored the Blue Devils had managed a penalty kill, but broke down as the fifth player was coming back onto the ice. The first happened two seconds after Ryan Pereira’s penalty was cleared and the second came six seconds after Conor Stanley left the box.

“[Bryant is] a good gritty team,” said Head Coach Ben Adams. “They’re never gonna quit on a game and those teams are tough for us to play with because we’re used to either running away with a game or the team running away with a game against us … they’re ranked eighth for a reason and any time you take a penalty, unfortunately it’s not a two minute penalty, it’s about two minutes and five seconds once you get your fifth guy in the play and they used all two minutes and five seconds both times.”

Penalties were looking to become a problem again for CCSU, but the third period began and the Blue Devils were back on their game.

A pair of quick goals from Jon Knobloch and Matt Siracusa gave CCSU the two point advantage with less than 10 minutes left to play. Knobloch sealed the win for the Blue Devils when he slid the puck past the goalie that was down on the ice just away from the crease.

“It’s all about the first chance breakouts, we need to get the pucks out first and we had trouble with that in the second. The last five, ten minutes and after that in first and third it goes up from the D to the wingers and if we can get that puck out quick we’ll have success,” said Goldstein.

Less than 24 hours later the team was back in Newington, this time taking on in-state rivals, Western Connecticut. Against the Colonials the Blue Devils were on the winning side of an 8-2 final.

At the end of an explosive second period CCSU led WCSU 7-1, with multiple lines contributing to the score.

“After that second period the locker room was just really realized we knew we had the game we just had to finish the last 20,” said Brian Fay. Fay had the initial second period goals which gave the Blue Devils the 5-1 lead, he also finished the night with an assist.

With a six-goal advantage going into the third, things started to get chippy and more penalties were taken, but Mazurkiewicz still found the net in order to up the team’s lead to seven.

With less than eight minutes left to play, CCSU began to take multiple penalties including a slash from Matt Reckdenwald, tripping from Mazurkiewicz and a five-minute hitting from behind game misconduct which led to Ian Schwalenberg getting the gate early.

“Offensively it was nice to get on a roll, contributions from all the lines, good puck movement offensively. I would’ve liked to see us get a little bit tougher in front of the net, bury a little bit more but it was good,” said Adams. “…You know we got into penalty trouble and gave them a couple of windows where they actually could have crawled their way back in but luckily they did a great job at killing them.”

The next day CCSU travelled to Marist where they fell 5-4. The team will go back on the road on Friday before returning to Newington Saturday night to take on the University of Massachusetts.

CCSU Track Finishes In Top Ten

By Nick Rosa

The Central Connecticut men’s track team finished sixth overall at the Albany Great Dane Classic last Friday night. The team finished with 45.5 points, which was good enough for a tie with Villanova.  The University of Connecticut won the meet with a score of 123 points.

The meet was held at the infamous Armory Track & Field Center in New York, which is known for its speedy track and banked turns.

Aaron Radden lead the Blue Devils with two top-five finishes in the 200-meter dash and the 60-meter dash.  He notched a second place finish in the 200-meter with a time of 21.55 seconds and fourth place in the 60-meter with a time of 6.85 seconds.

Another strong performance from sophomore Nick Lindblom in the 60-meter hurdles helped gain place points by finishing second with a time of 8.48 seconds, breaking his own school record.

In the field, senior Rashad Williams also placed in the top 10 in both throwing events.  Williams threw 16.38 meters in the shot for a fourth place finish and finished eighth in the weight throw with a toss of 16.18 meters.

Junior Kieth Boyd-Carter claimed the 19th spot in the triple jump posting a distance of 12.73m.

Senior Sam Alexander and junior Craig Hunt finished third and fifth in the 3,000-meter run, respectively.  Alexander ran a time of 8:21.50 and Hunt with an 8:24.29 mark.  Alexander’s time broke his own school-record.

In the one-mile run, junior Colby Delbene ran a fast time of 4:12.62, good enough for a fifth place finish.  The 4×400-meter relay team of Lindblom, Sophomore Ryan Budd, junior Dan Hopper, and freshman Jamal Fruster, placed 12th in a time of 3:24.53.

The Blue Devils will be back on the track this Saturday, Jan. 28, as they travel to the Reggie Lewis Center in Boston, Mass., which is also known for its fast track, to compete at the Boston Indoor Games.

Hockey Humbled by William Paterson

By Brittany Burke

The Blue Devils club hockey team couldn’t hold off the top-ranked William Paterson University on home ice, dropping their second game in a row 8-2.

“The positive is we’re not supposed to beat a team like Willy P and with that being said we’re gonna have to regroup and realize we’re not going to walk over teams, it humbles us a bit, getting beat this bad and hopefully we can learn from it and really play blue collar hockey,” said Ryan Stanley.

Following a loss on the road against the University of New Hampshire last weekend, CCSU came into the game looking to upset the Pioneers. However, with the game 2-0 in WPU’s favor less than two minutes into the first period it was evident the game was going to be an uphill climb.

“It’s always tough when you’re trying to battle uphill especially out of the gate early. It’s one of those that your balloon gets popped real quick and you have to refocus and realize you’re in the middle of a game,” said Head Coach Ben Adams.

Emotions ran high on both sides finally culminating in an entire line brawl with 2:03 left to play in the second period.

With the Pioneers up 5-1, chaos erupted on the ice following a stoppage of play in front of WPU’s net. The fight against WPU involved CCSU’s Conor Stanley, Jon Knobloch, Evan Mink, Mike Joy and Zack Vidmosko.

“I think just the frustration finally boiled over you know we were getting some chances and we just weren’t burying any and we were trying to get to the net and get some good net presence and they took exception to it and one thing leads to another,” said Adams. “…it’s part of the game, it happens. I thought it added some energy to our game. After that we just couldn’t capitalize.”

Everyone on the ice was given time for roughing while some of the athletes, including Mink, were tossed from the game.

While the fight meant having some of the best CCSU players sitting in the box, it seemed to ignite a fire in the Blue Devils coming into the third.

The Blue Devils continued to improve in the attack zone with crisp passing, but they couldn’t bury the puck.

With 11:55 left in the game the Pioneers struck for the seventh time of the game netting a power play goal while Matt Siracusa took a two-minute minor. The goal was the final shot allowed for CCSU goalie John Palmieri, who was pulled and replaced by Ross Mocko. Palmieri allowed for seven goals in 32 attempts while Mocko let in one with eight shots taken.

Penalties proved to be a continual hindrance for the Blue Devils as they have all season with three of the Pioneers’ goals coming when CCSU was on the penalty kill.

“Between the second and third we had a get-together with just the players and we decided we wanted to play really hard and we did for a little bit, but the penalties really killed it for us,” said Ryan Stanley.

Stanley notched the team’s second goal of the game with 10:08 left in the third period from Dustin Rider and his brother, Conor Stanley, but the spark wasn’t enough to catapult the team to a late comeback.

“Our guys did a good job of not quitting,” said Adams. “Our problem was they just didn’t turn it on quick enough. We have a team who can play with anybody, depth and talent but when we don’t get it from the beginning and you’re playing up hill it’s a tough battle regardless of the team you’re playing or the team you have it’s one of those things that you’ve got to kind of own the first five minutes and settle into a game.”

The Blue Devils will be back in Newington on Friday at 9:15 p.m. to try for another win against Bryant. CCSU has a packed weekend; following the game against Bryant the team will play Western Connecticut at home on Saturday and at Marist on Sunday.

CCSU Basketball Wins Big Over Bryant; Sweep Bulldogs in Conference Play

By Nick Rosa

The Blue Devils men’s basketball team improved to 7-1 at home this season and 6-1 in the Northeast Conference after defeating the Bryant Bulldogs 69-51 at home last Thursday night.

The win completes the season sweep of the Bulldogs and the Blue Devils go to 9-8 overall on the season.

On Thursday night, freshman Kyle Vinales opened the game with a quick seven points by hitting his first 3-point attempt and then four fast break points for layups thanks to a steal and strong rebound by senior Kenny Horton in the first two minutes of the game to go-ahead 7-2.

At half the Blue Devils left to the locker room with a strong double-digit lead ahead of the Bulldogs 31-20.  Efforts from Horton and Vinales gave the home team an advantage over Bryant.

Horton had six points, nine rebounds, two assists and two steals, while Vinales had 10 points and two steals.  CCSU also had some bench help from Joe Efese and David Simmons going for a combined 5-7 from the field.  Effese made use of his time with seven points while grabbing four rebounds in just 10 minutes of play.

Bryant didn’t help themselves out in the first half by shooting a minimal 25.8 percent from the field and turning the ball over eight times, which allowed the Blue Devils to score nine points off those turnovers.  CCSU countered with 41.2 percent from the field to lead the first half of the contest.

CCSU had a game plan, dominating the Bulldogs in the second half.  CCSU’s defense was able to keep the Bulldogs’ shooting at bay by only allowing them to go 11-28 from the field and 2-14 from beyond the arc.  While CCSU was able to move around the Bulldogs defense shooting 13-27 from the field and 5-12 from the 3-point line.

Overall the Bulldogs finished 19-59 a mere 32.2 percent from the field and 5-25 from the 3-point line, while the Blue Devils outshot them by going 27-61 and 7-21.

The highlight of the game was an alley-oop from Vinales to Horton, where Horton went up and grabbed the ball with one hand and slammed it down with intensity as the home crowd cheered the loudest they did all night.

“He catches everything Kenny, he catches everything,” said Head Coach Howie Dickenman. “He’s like a praying mantis, catches the ball and slams it down.”

Horton added, “He [Vinales] kind of threw it a little far, but I was able to get it and throw it down and that gave us a little spark, a little bit more energy, the whole crowd and everything.  It was good for that to go down.”

The Blue Devils lead by double-digits the whole game, going into half-time ahead by 11 and winning the game by 18 points.

Great performances from Horton, Vinales, and freshman Malcolm McMillan helped move the game in the Blue Devils’ favor.  Horton had 18 points, 11 rebounds, two assists, one block and a steal.  This was his 25th career double-double and on Saturday added to that streak with his 26th with 25 points and 14 rebounds.  Horton also lifted a huge load off his shoulders after hitting his first 3-pointer in his last 20 attempts.

When asked how it felt about finally hitting that 3-pointer, he simply replied with a laugh and a smile, “That was like a big weight lifted off my back, it felt so good, so good.”

Vinales also had a game from the field going 4-7 from the three point line and 7-16 overall with 18 points, a rebound and seven assists.

McMillan also did his part on the court by getting 10 assists without committing a turnover.  The freshman may have scored no points but he helped set the tempo of the game and did his part on the court.

“Every game Kenny comes out and tells me to set the tempo, that’s my job, set the tempo for the team, run the team, especially defensively and lock down that point guard,” McMillan said.  “Scoring I leave it up Robby [Ptacek], Kyle, and Kenny, those guys, that’s their thing. They score and I just give them the ball and play defense.  That’s my job and that’s what I try to do every game,” the freshman added.

Dickenman added to McMillan’s performance by saying, “He wants to please his teammates, he wants to please the coaches. He has Central Connecticut basketball mentality.”

Ptacek had a slow game only shooting 2-11 from the field and missing all five of his 3-point shots, but still produced for the team defensively.  He had nine points, seven rebounds and one assist, while going perfect from the free throw line going 5-5, all in the second half.   The senior is now shooting 93 percent from the line this season, which also ranks him as the second-best free-throw shooter in the nation, as of Thursday night.

“Robby’s defense was better than his offense but not really worried about his offense,” said Dickenman.  Ptacek had six of his nine rebounds come from the defensive side while adding a steal.

The bench also provided some protection with the trio of Efese, senior David Simmons and sophomore Terrell Allen combined to hit 7-of-11 from the field, and had 16 points and nine rebounds in 35 minutes of play, while only committing one turnover between the three.

CCSU’s “Big Three” of Ptacek, Horton, and Vinales managed to score 45 of the teams 69 points and showing why they are a force in the NEC conference to not take lightly.

The Blue Devils will be back in action at home Thursday Jan, 26 at 7 p.m. at Detrick Gymnasium against NEC opponent Monmouth University

Men’s Basketball Loses On Inbounds Play

By Nicholas Proch

In the second game of the men’s and women’s doubleheader at Sacred Heart, the men could do no better than their female counterparts, losing 62-61.

The Blue Devils lost possession on an inbounds pass with 20.1 seconds left on the clock, which led to the Pioneers hitting the game-winning field goal with 6.7 seconds to play.

“I have to give credit for hanging in there, we had a four-point lead with 2 minutes to go,” said Head Coach Howie Dickenman. “I almost want to say that we panicked.”

In a back and forth matchup, it seemed as if the last person to get the ball with any substantial time left on the clock left would win. That’s exactly what happened and the Pioneers sent the Blue Devils home shocked.

The lead changed 13 times in the game as both teams had strong shooting performances in the first half. CCSU went into the break with a three-point lead, 31-28, based mostly on their 7-10 effort from the free throw line.

Sacred Heart was able to match CCSU shot for shot throughout the second half. The Pioneers were led by their best player, Shane Gibson, who had 26 points and six rebounds.

“They made a big play,” said Coach Dickenman. “Their star [Gibson] stood up.”

The Blue Devils were never able to put the Pioneers away and that cost them late. There were multiple occasions that they could have taken control of play, but couldn’t pull away.

“This could have gone either way, and we were not able to make a big play when it was called on,” said Dickenman. “They made that big play.”

This was partly due to the poor offensive display put on by the CCSU bench. The Blue Devils were a combined 0-2 from the field for a total of zero points in their collective 47 minutes on the court. In fact, all of the team’s scoring came from four players, Kyle Vinales, Malcolm McMillan, Robby Ptacek and Kenny Horton.

Senior forward Horton had the best statistical night for the Blue Devils, dropping 25 points and collecting 14 rebounds, but ultimately cost the team the game on the inbounds pass that got away from him.

“He had good numbers, but you don’t throw the ball under the basket like that,” said Dickenman. “We had three timeouts, and I said if you can’t get it off, call a timeout. I wanted Robby [Ptacek] to come and get the ball if possible. Robby was double-teamed and he [Horton] didn’t see the other guys who were open.”

The team will try and move forward after a crushing defeat as they face Monmouth and Farleigh Dickenson this week at home in front of a friendlier crowd than this game.

Sacred Heart fans “packed the Pitt” for both the men and women Pioneer squads. It was a promotional event that featured giveaways and prizes for participants and attendees. The snow didn’t seem to have an impact on the number in attendance supporting the home team, but may have taken away from the crowd that would have followed the Blue Devils to Fairfield.

Women’s Basketball Falls to Sacred Heart

By Nicholas Proch

Early morning snow did not stop the Sacred Heart fans from “packing the Pitt” for the first game of the women’s and men’s basketball doubleheader against CCSU, which helped the home team to a 63-57 win over the Blue Devils.

The Blue Devils (9-9, 3-5 NEC) matched the Pioneer’s (13-4, 6-0 NEC) skilled players with their physical play at the beginning of the first half, but capitalizing on turnovers helped Sacred Heart go into halftime with a ten-point lead, 34-24.

CCSU gave up 12 turnovers in the first half which Sacred Heart turned into 10 points.

“It was like a ‘panic.’ Instead of us believing in ourselves and taking care of the basketball and being aggressive, we were playing passive,” said Head Coach Beryl Piper after the game. “That’s something I told to them at halftime.”

Strong shooting performances from the Babe sisters, Jacyln and Jessica, kept CCSU in the game going into halftime. Both sisters had nine points at the break, a total which they did not add to in the second half.

The team played with a new focus after coming out of the locker room for the final 20 minutes. Led by junior center Kirsten Daamen, who had 14 of her 16 total points in the second half, the Blue Devils reclaimed the lead with nine minutes left in the game. Sophomore forward Lauren Arbogast added nine second-half points, out of a total of 11 for the game.

“In the second half we decided that we needed to be the aggressors and that was something that we had talked about during practice this week, too,” said Piper. “We weren’t doing that in the first half, and in the second we were getting to the rim and were able to be aggressive and put the pressure on them like they were in the first.”

As quickly as the Blue Devils had gained the momentum, they lost it as sophomore Jessica Babe hit the floor grimacing in pain with 7:45 remaining. With nine points and 11 rebounds to that point, her presence on the court was immediately missed. The coaches knew the injury was serious.

“She’s tough, when a kid like her goes down like that she’s probably coming out of the game because she’s not going to sit down and beg to be out ever,” said Piper. “It’s bad.” Her injury will be something that the team evaluates this week.

The Pioneers were able to control the tempo of the game with Babe off the court and, with about 1:30 left to play, they took a 59-57 lead. From there it was only a matter of running out the clock and not giving up a costly turnover.

Sacred Heart was able to do so and finished out the game with a 63-57 victory. The Pioneers remain perfect in NEC play and hold a strong command over the field as they continue down the stretch of their season.

With this loss, the Blue Devils fall to 2-5 in the NEC as they remain close to the bottom of the conference standings. They play Farleigh-Dickenson and Monmouth at home on Saturday and Monday, respectively. The Blue Devils will look to knock both teams out of the top half of the NEC standings.

“The last three games that this team has played have been more consistent. That’s a huge factor. We shot the ball well from the free-throw line [16-20] and pretty consistent throughout the game,” said Piper. “We have to keep playing aggressive and stop being passive, we can’t let the other team keep forcing us into mistakes and that’s something that you have to work on with a young team like this one.”

The Blue Devils beat the Bryant Bull Dogs on the road Monday Night 75-62 without the help of Jessica Babe who is still injured and will look to extend the win streak to two on Saturday at 1 p.m.

Blue Devils Hockey Tops Red Hawks

By Brittany Burke

The CCSU club hockey team hasn’t played a game since Dec. 17 against Bryant University on the road, but despite the break the Blue Devils managed to come out against Montclair State and continue its win streak, topping the Red Hawks 5-3.

Saturday night’s home game against Red Hawks was the second meeting between the two Super East teams, both resulting in a win for the Blue Devils. Not only was this a game between the number four and number five teams in the league, but this rematch also marked the first game between the two since goalie Greg Coco was injured on the road at Montclair.

“I thought it was going to be a very difficult game for us to play,” said Head Coach Ben Adams. “[Montclair] came in with a lot of confidence, tying the best team in the Northeast last night, and how our first game against them went, it was kind of lopsided in our favor and we had a lot of emotion we had to channel with our goaltender getting hurt in that last game too. So there was a lot of speed bumps that could’ve come up but I thought we played well despite that.”

The tension between the two teams was evident on the ice and it wasn’t long before the physical play grew chippy.

“Everyone was trying to get revenge but we also wanted to win and obviously that’s the main case we were going for and we got that done,” said Jon Knobloch.

CCSU fought through and managed to get on the board first, but the lead didn’t last long. Just three minutes after the Blue Devils got their first point the Red Hawks scored on a five-on-three power play to tie the score.

Taking unnecessary penalties and then killing off the power play is something that the Blue Devils struggled with all game. All three Montclair goals came with at least one CCSU player in the box and serving time.

“The goals that they got were nothing more than throwing it to the net and crashing it and getting some tips and some back door stuff and we knew that’s what they try to do and it’s very difficult to defend when they have an extra man down low that they can send into the crease and create those opportunities,” said Adams. “… We just have to clean up why we’re getting to the box. There was a couple calls, good, bad or indifferent they’re things we could’ve controlled and we shouldn’t have put ourselves in that position.”

Much of the game was back and forth and that was evident in the scoring. With just over five minutes left to play before the first intermission, CCSU’s Brian Fay brought the puck up the side through the neutral zone and into the attacking zone before shooting and notching the team’s second goal of the night.

“First game you know we had to work some rust off in the first period, you know, we were kind of slow taking a lot of penalties but after the first we kind of got back into and did what we had to to get the win,” said Fay.

With Evan Mink serving a two minute penalty in the second, Montclair managed to put the puck past Mike Joy and goalie John Palmieri to tie the score for the second time that night.

Despite the fact that Montclair managed to tie the game, they were never able to fully gain the lead. Fifty-three seconds after the teams were two each, CCSU’s Dustin Rider netted a short-handed goal, his second goal of the night.

Rider is a new addition to the Blue Devils and made quite a name for himself in his debut game. Rider tallied a hat trick against Montclair and helped add depth to the Blue Devil lines.

Rider isn’t the only add-on to CCSU this semester. A handful of guys have been reactivated, joined and become eligible for the second half of the season.

“It’s really good so we can mix up the lines, we don’t have to stack the lines as much, we can spread out the offense and that way everyone’s getting out there and contributing which is nice,” said Fay.

Palmieri kept the Red Hawks out of the net in the third, allowing the Blue Devils to gain two more points. A power play goal made by Jon Knobloch and the empty-netter from Rider officially sealed the win for the Blue Devils.

The Blue Devils return to action this Saturday against team rivals William Patterson at 8:30 p.m. in Newington.

Horton and Ptacek Key In CCSU Win

By Brittany Burke

The Blue Devils men’s basketball team remains undefeated in conference play after two games. The 82-80 win over the Sacred Heart Pioneers was secured in the final seconds of a five minute overtime situation last Saturday in Detrick Gymnasium.

With 1:10 left to play in regulation CCSU trailed SHU 68- 65, until Robby Ptacek sunk a 3-pointer to tie the score. With the game tied and headed into the final seconds, the Blue Devil defense took charge while the Pioneers missed two vital 3-point shots of their own.

As the buzzer sounded and overtime began, it was the Pioneers who took the lead back with a jump shot from Shane Gibson.

Gibson was an offensive force that the Blue Devils had trouble shooting down in the second half. With just eight points going into intermission, Gibson came back out to the court and exploded with 24 more points, making him the game’s leading scorer.

Gibson opened overtime play and had a total of four points in extra minutes, but it wasn’t enough to hold off CCSU.

The two teams continued to trade shots back and forth, but again CCSU began to trail SHU. Down by three, Ptacek and Kenny Horton were both sent to the line to shoot two free throws. The additional four points gave the Blue Devils the lead and sent the defense back into overdrive.

The game was decided in the final seconds by free throws. CCSU’s biggest break of the overtime came when they led the Pioneers by one with 20 seconds on the clock.

Fouled by Horton, SHU’s Justin Swidowski was sent to the line with his team down one point, but missed both shots as the crowd around him was chanting “air ball.” The Blue Devils remained on top with three more points coming from Horton and Ptacek at the line.

“[The fans] helped us a lot, a whole lot,” said Horton. “It’s only been a couple times that crowd’s really, really been like that and that’s a big boost for us seeing that we have everybody behind us and everybody cheering, everybody doing the little chants. That just gives us that fuel and that fire that helped us pick up our intensity a little bit when we were flat.”

It was the extra attempts taken from the line that really secured the win for the Blue Devils, but it was the free throws that also hindered the team earlier in the game.

“We got a little break when Swidowski came into the game 21 out of 23 from the foul line and he made some earlier and missed them both,” said Head Coach Howie Dickenman. “They had a chance there in regulation and not really a great shot at the end, but it came down to us making foul shots in the overtime, which has kind of been our trademark, but we put stops on them when we needed to.”

At the end of the first half CCSU had gone just 1-1 in free throws while SHU went 8-11. As the game progressed the team fouled more and found themselves at the line more often. In overtime alone CCSU went 7-8 from the line, the only missed shot made by Ptacek in his final attempt.

While SHU had more attempts than CCSU, the Blue Devils were able to take better advantage of the shots they were given, especially in overtime.

Gibson may have been the game’s leading scorer, but again CCSU had three players in double digits.

Horton and Ptacek were virtually even with 30 points, three assists and five turnovers. The two seniors combined for five of the six 3-point shots made, while Horton stepped up defensively with a block, steal and six defensive rebounds.

Joe Efese had 11 points in the game, while Kyle Vinales was kept to a meager five. Vinales has been an offensive powerhouse for the Blue Devils, but the Pioneers shut him down with just one field goal and one 3-pointer made.

“Joe’s had a couple of good games of late,” said Dickenman. “He’s sort of fired up [and] we’re much better when we play with emotion, as I think any team in sports is, but he is showing more energy in practice … he asserted himself and if he continued to get better than that’s a hold that we have in that five spot and maybe were starting to fill that up a little bit.”

The game against SHU was the last conference game for the Blue Devils until Jan. 5 when they play St. Francis (PA). However, the team travels to Michigan State on Dec. 7 to open up a three game road stint. The game will be broadcast on ESPNU, which is channel 33 on CCSU’s cable system.

“We got to go [to Michigan State] and play hard,” said Horton. “All we want to do is go in and show everybody that we can compete and go in and play our toughest. That’s really our mind set to just go in and play tough and show people we’re not just going to lay down because they’re Michigan State … that’s all we can really do … it’s a real big stage because it’s Michigan State, but like Rob said, it’s just another game, we’re going to just play hard and see what happens.”

CCSU is home again three days before Christmas on Thursday Dec. 22 at 7 p.m.

Women’s Basketball Crushes New Hampshire

By Kenny Barto

The CCSU Women’s Basketball team had an impressive showing against New Hampshire, defeating them 83-44 on Sunday afternoon.

“When we played Hartford the other day we struggled executing offense because we couldn’t get into our initial offense after the first pass,” said Head Coach Beryl Piper. “Tonight, we were able to execute our offense because we were playing better defense and getting easy looks.”

Junior transfer Jaclyn Babe led the Blue Devils (3-1, 0-0 NEC) with 22 points. The Wildcats (2-2, 0-0 America East) had only one player in double figures and turned the ball over 20 times. Jessica Babe had just four points but had seven rebounds, nine assists and five steals.

“Jessica had a really good game today,” Piper said. “To put up numbers like that as a guard, it’s just a huge help to our team.”

The game was tied at 18 with 7:58 to go in the first half. It seemed like the game would be back and forth all day. However, the Blue Devils mustered a 24-4 run to close out the half leading 42-22.  Jaclyn Babe scored 13 of her 22 in the first half, and missed just one of her five shots from the field. Kirsten Daamen, CCSU’s leading scorer of the season, scored 10 of her 18 in the first half.

The Wildcats didn’t have much luck against CCSU in the second half as the blowout continued. They shot seven of 29 from the field and did not hit one three pointer.

The Blue Devils’ defense forced twenty turnovers, 12 of them being steals. The Babe sisters combined for seven of those steals.

“That was one of the main focuses in practice,” said Jaclyn Babe. “Doing what the coaches asked, trailing all ball screens, getting in the gaps and the passing lanes.”

Daamen currently leads the Blue Devils with 60 points, and Jaclyn Babe is a close second with 55. Babe, who had to sit out her sophomore year after transferring from Duquesne, has also played 140 minutes, the most on the team.

“I think it’s taken me a few games to get back into it,” she said. “But, I think I’m in a good place now and it feels good to be out there and playing again.”

CCSU also showed how deep their bench goes. The Blue Devils played 11 of their 12 players, Amanda Harrington being the only exception. This allowed there to be fresh legs on the court at all times, as well as to give Coach Piper an idea of how she will handle games in the future.

“I’m starting to get an idea about substitutions,” said Piper. “Today was Brooke’s first game back, and we missed Jessica for one game. But, as a whole everything is starting to fit together.”

The Blue Devils will return home on Wednesday for the “Pack the House” challenge, an NCAA program that is aimed at boosting attendance at division 1 women’s college basketball games. CCSU will be defending their Northeast Conference title, when they drew 1,800 fans to last year’s season opener against Hartford. They will open their NEC schedule on Saturday against Sacred Heart.