Senior captain Jamie Baumert put forth a 16 kill, nine block effort, but it wasn't enough for the Central Connecticut State University volleyball team to get by Manhattan College, as the Jaspers (1-1) defeated the Blue Devils (0-1) 3-2 (25-22, 21-25, 22-25, 25-21, 15-8) in the opening match of the CCSU Blue Devil Invitational.
In the first set the Blue Devils got up early as they led 6-2 after a kill by freshman Blaike King. The Jaspers then went on an 8-2 run to take a 10-8 lead that they would not relinquish for the rest of the set as they beat CCSU 25-22. King and Baumert led Central in the set with three kills a piece.
Manhattan took control to begin the second set as they capped off a 7-3 start with a block by Maddie Heck. The Blue Devils then rallied off five straight points to take an 8-7 lead int he set. During the stretch CCSU had three straight kills, all off of assists from junior captain Amanda Bayer. Like the Jaspers in the set before them, Central would not give up their early-set lead and tied the match with a 25-21 second set victory. Bayer had nine assists in the set, while junior Kaitlin Petrella recorded a set high of 10 digs for the Blue Devil defense.
After scoring the first five points of the third set, Manhattan lost their lead to CCSU at 9-8 and the two teams fought back and forth the rest of the way, finishing with a CCSU 25-22 win. The Blue Devils took a 2-1 lead in the match behind six kills by King and four blocks from Baumert.
The fourth set tightly contested as CCSU and Manhattan were tied 11 different times in the set. The Jaspers tied the match at 2-2 when a Aurore Kullak kill gave Manhattan a 25-21 fourth set victory. Sophomore Danielle Gasser led CCSU in the set with six assists, while King racked up another five kills.
In the fifth and deciding set, the Jaspers took control early and didn't look back. After a kill by Baumert that brought the Blue Devils within one point, at 7-6, Manhattan scored the next six points and went on to win the final set by a score of 15-8.
King and sophomore Sara DeLacey each finished with 15 kills in the match. King added 14 digs to join four other Blue Devils with double digit dig totals in the defeat. Bayer also totaled 14 digs, while Gasser picked up 11 and freshman Emily Cochran tallied 15. Petrella led the way for CCSU with a match best 24 digs. Cochran also added eight kills, while junior Tori Vaughan tallied six kills and four blocks for Central. Bayer finished the match with 30 assists, and Gasser totaled 17 in the loss.
Diane Strutner led the Jaspers with 13 kills and 21 digs. Laura Bellotti had a match high 42 assists and added 14 digs. Two other Manhattan players totaled double digit digs, as Julie Bies tallied 20 and Kullak finished with 15. Heck led the Jaspers with eight blocks.
Also in action tonight at the CCSU Blue Devil Invitational were the New Jersey Institute of Technology and the University of Hartford. NJIT (5-0) defeated Hartford (2-3) by a score of 3-0 (25-17, 25-11, 25-18). Action will pick back up tomorrow morning, Saturday, with Hartford taking on Manhattan at 11:00 a.m. CCSU will play NJIT at 1:30 p.m. and Hartford in the final match of the tournament at 6:30 p.m.