The Central Connecticut volleyball team will be competing in the Northeast Conference Tournament for the sixth year in a row this weekend in Moon Township, PA. The Blue Devils are the third seed in the tournament, finishing with an NEC record of 5-3, and will play sixth seeded Sacred Heart in a quarterfinal match on Saturday at 12:30 p.m.
Number one seed Robert Morris is the host institution and will play the winner of the quarterfinal match between fourth seeded St. Francis (PA) and fifth seeded Fairleigh Dickinson. If CCSU gets past Sacred Heart, they will move on to the semifinals and play second seeded Long Island on Saturday at 6:30 p.m.
Although the Blue Devils are seeded higher than Sacred Heart, they have not had good luck against the Pioneers this year. CCSU fell to Sacred Heart on the road on September 26 by a score of 3-2. The Pioneers came to New Britain on October 30 and left with a 3-1 win and snapped a three match winning streak for the Blue Devils. History is on the side of CCSU, as they were 8-0 against Sacred Heart in the six seasons prior to 2008.
Central is led by a senior, a junior and a strong crew of sophomores. Upperclassmen Amanda Olmstead and Jamie Baumert lead the Blue Devils in hitting percentage with marks of .261 and .245, respectively. Olmstead is sixth in the NEC in the category, while Baumer ranks ninth. Olmstead, a senior captain, is also second on the team with 238 kills and second with 35 aces. Baumert, who earlier in the year was named NEC Player of the Week for a career high of 13 blocks, leads CCSU and the conference with 103 total blocks and is third among Blue Devils with 206 kills.
Sophomores Lauren Snyder, Amanda Bayer, Kaitlin Petrella and Tori Vaughan create a strong, young nucleus for CCSU. Snyder leads Central with 297 kills and ranks fourth in the NEC in kills per set with 3.30. Snyder opened the season with NEC Player of the Week honors after leading CCSU to a 2-1 record at the Blue Devil Invitational. Bayer, last year's NEC Rookie of the Year, leads the Blue Devils in assists with 800. She is fourth in the conference in assists per set with a mark of 8.79. Petrella leads the team in digs with 338 and is seventh in the NEC with 3.71 digs per set. Vaughan is currently second among Blue Devils in blocks, with 61, and third in hitting percentage with a mark of .233.
CCSU has an overall record of 11-13, making this the ninth
straight season the Blue Devils have won double digit matches.
Central will take on Sacred Heart in the NEC quarterfinal match on
Saturday November 22 at 12:30 p.m. Northeast Conference
Championship Information can be found at the NEC website, here.