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CCSU Volleyball Sweeps Weekend Action

By Kenny Barto

The CCSU volleyball team lost just one set in two weekend games, adding two important conference victories to its season.

On Saturday, the Blue Devils (14-7, 6-2 NEC) dominated Fairleigh Dickinson (14-7, 4-3 NEC) beating the team in straight sets 25-23, 25-12, and 25-16.

“I thought on Saturday, we had good rhythym,” head coach Linda Sagnelli said. “We passed the ball well, and we were able to work as a team to beat them in straight sets.”

The Knights never hit over .100 for their hitting percentage during the match. In set number two, they hit -.026, with nine kills and ten errors on 38 attempts.

Sunday’s action brought on St. Francis (N.Y.), a team that FDU beat in straight sets. Although CCSU came off a strong showing against a decent team in FDU, the Blue Devils didn’t seem to have the fire that they had just 24 hours prior.

“We seem to struggle through the match,” Sagnelli said. “We never seemed to find the right rhythm, and our goal is to create our rhythm.”

The last place Terriers (1-24, 0-9 NEC) put up a decent fight in the first set, falling short 25-18. The Blue Devils then bounced back, and seemed to be on the way to a sweep with a 25-13 win in set number two.

St. Francis (N.Y.) had not won a set in five straight games, the last coming against the second-to-last place Quinnipiac on Oct. 1 when the team lost 3-2 against the Bobcats. The Terriers have only won 11 sets in 25 games. While it was obvious that the Terriers were not at CCSU’s level of play, but, they were able to beat the Blue Devils in set three 25-21. The Terrier hitting percentage was .306, while holding the Blue Devils to .161.

“It’s focus, it really is,” Sagnelli. “Some of it depends on the servers your facing. Sometimes we have trouble with just one kid, in the end it’s just focus.”

The Blue Devils redeemed themselves in the fourth set winning easily, 25-16. Despite the team’s struggles, Sagnelli was sure of one thing.

“Emily [Cochran] was by far the most determined player on the court today,” Sagnelli said. “She was able to fight through some sloppy points, and put the ball down when we needed to put the ball down.”

Cochran finished with a team high 18 kills and finished second in digs, with 12. It seemed that time after time, the setters went to Cochran in favor of the other hitters on the court.

“We could have controlled the better off of the first pass,” said Sagnelli. “I think our passing was really up and down, which made things really difficult today.”

The closest calls in the match seemed to go to the Blue Devils, but St. Francis fought back regardless. After the victory in the third set, some players on the Terriers’ bench were heard saying, “Really, we won?”

“A lot of credit goes to St. Francis,” Sagnelli said. “They really fought and scrapped on every ball, they definitely went after it today.”

The Blue Devils will hit the road, traveling to Sacred Heart and Bryant on Saturday and Sunday. The Pioneers sit in first place with a 7-1 conference record, while the Bulldogs sit in sixth place with a 3-6 record.

Hockey Ends in a Draw

The Newington rink was filled with cheers as the Blue Devils hockey club team came from behind in the last minutes of the game against the University of New Hampshire to tie the score at five.

This forced the first of three overtime situations of the weekend for CCSU.

“I thought we were the better team in overtime,” said Head Coach Ben Adams. “In the third and overtime it was our game and I was just happy to get to overtime being down two, and for us, at this point a tie is as good as a win. With our loss last weekend at William Paterson, when you play within your league a point is a point and it’ll help at the end of the year.”

With 51 seconds left to play in the third, Ryan Stanley managed to close the two-goal gap to one and renew the energy for both the team and the fans with his first goal of the season. Then with hope still alive for the tie, Matt Siracusa notched CCSU’s fifth and final point of the game.

“Those are our go-to guys and when we need goals that’s who we look to and it’s good to see Stanley got on the board tonight because he hasn’t got on the board yet and Cuse is a consistent player, he works hard and his hard work leads to a lot of opportunities,” said Adams.

Siracusa had scored the final regulation point in CCSU’s first home game against the University of New Haven, which the team had won in extra minutes. He finished the game with four points, adding three assists to the last-minute goal. As the goal was called the noise inside the rink heightened, the team celebrated on ice while the crowd made sure to cheer and shake the glass from the bleachers.

“I’ve never been one for caring about points too much, but if the puck is on my stick I’m gonna try to give my team the best chance to win and throw the puck on net,” said Siracusa. “It was nice being with [Ryan] Stanley out there, we grew up together and probably have 10 seasons under our belts playing together on the same line, so it felt really nice being out there with him again so hopefully we could keep it rolling.”

Unlike the game against the Chargers, the Blue Devils couldn’t pull out a win, but will still get a point for the tie.

Coming off a 10-3 loss against William Patterson in New Jersey, CCSU was down 2-0 early in the first period off two UNH power play goals. It wasn’t until there was 8:20 left to play until the initial intermission that CCSU’s Jon Knobloch managed to get the team on the board.

Freshmen Jack Johnson tied the game at two a piece midway through the second, but just as the Blue Devils got up so did UNH. The UNH tally was doubled within a 1:20 when the opposing team notched two quick goals. Johnson scored his second goal of the game early in the third to try and close the gap once again, but UNH countered his goal with a fifth of its own.

“It was a great experience to be able to help out the team. It’s good to get in there and do what I can to be able to help the guys,” said Johnson.

While CCSU had the momentum entering the five minute sudden death overtime it couldn’t capitalize on the opportunity, ending the game at five all.

In his first home game of the season, goalie Greg Coco was looking to rebound off the loss against William Paterson, which he let 10 goals get past him. In the game against UNH Coco stopped the Wildcats 40 times out of 45 shots.

“It was a little mentally tough because we gave up two power play goals at first and I’m just looking for my first win still, so it was a little frustrating, but it was nice that the team came back and it was nice that I made some saves because it was the first real good game since my surgery,” said Coco.

At the beginning of the summer Coco had surgery to repair a labral tear in his hip, but was able to start the season on opening weekend.

The hockey team is still affected by too many penalties, which is something that was prevalent throughout the entire weekend, and cost the team a possible win.

“I think we’re in the box a little too much,” said Siracusa. “We play better against almost anyone five-on-five, so if we really focus on taking the penalties down and keeping our mouths shut a little bit on the ice … and stay out of the box we should have a pretty good season.”