Volleyball Drops Lone Weekend Match

Ryan Jones, Sports Editor

Central Connecticut volleyball’s winning streak came to an end on Friday, as the Blue Devils were handed a 3-1 defeat from Sacred Heart.

The two opening frames in CCSU’s inter-state match up proved to be the most contentious.

The Blue Devils exchanged leads early and often with the Pioneers throughout the first set as the teams tied 11 times in the opening frame.

The first set was primed for CCSU to take, but costly errors down the stretch put a wrench in it. Senior Emma Henderson served an ace to put the Blue Devils a point away from taking the set. The Pioneers took a timeout following Henderson’s serve and quickly turned things around. SHU stormed back coming out of the break, scoring four straight to take the first set 26-24. Two of the final four points from SHU came from Central Connecticut errors.

The Blue Devils had their best hitting percentage of the game in the first set (.220) but the costly errors proved to be the deciding factor.

“We had poor execution tonight,” head coach Linda Sagnelli said. “We gave up too many points on unforced errors where Sacred Heart didn’t have to do anything.”

Sagnelli said the team “needs to address” the errors made and work on “playing hard every single point and take accountability for every single mistake. There were errors tonight that I’ve just never seen us make.”

Both teams continued to battle for the lead in the second set. CCSU’s biggest lead came late (21-17) but SHU again scored four straight to tie the game at 21. SHU regained the lead, but a kill from Morgan Woycik started off a 3-0 run that clinched the second set for the Blue Devils.

Sacred Heart ran away with the third set, scoring the first points and never looking back as they kept the lead the whole time. The Pioneers led by as much as 12 as they took the third 25-14. The Blue Devils had their worst hitting percentage of the night in the third, posting a .086.

“We were our own worst enemy tonight,” Sagnelli said. “We would have a nice play, then go back to the service line and miss the serve. We would do something good, then three bad things happen and all of the sudden we’re down three.”

SHU jumped out to 6-1 to open up the fourth frame, but the Blue Devils were not ready to give up the game yet. CCSU scored 10 straight to take a 16-11 lead. Three errors from the Blue Devils helped SHU regain the lead down the stretch, one they would not relinquish for the remainder of the set. The Pioneers finished the set with 25-20 victory, securing the match win.

The Blue Devils NEC record drops to 3-2 on the season following the loss. Coming into the game, CCSU had won three straight games, all of which coming from 3-0 sweeps.

Going forward through the season, Sagnelli believes that “it’s about what happens on our side of the court, not our opponents side.”

On the costly errors against SHU, Sagnelli is optimistic about the team’s ability to perform. “We have to take care of the ball,” Sagnelli said. “We didn’t do that tonight, and we have the ability to do that.”

The Blue Devils will host Robert Morris and Saint Francis University this weekend as they continue their NEC part of the schedule.