Four members of the Central Connecticut State University volleyball team were honored by the Northeast Conference for their achievements this season on Friday night. Senior Jamie Baumert was named to the All-NEC First Team, while juniors Kaitlin Petrella and Amanda Bayer earned second team spots. Petrella also garnered NEC Libero of the Year accolades, while freshman Emily Cochran became CCSU's third NEC Rookie of the Year in the past four seasons. The awards were announced at the conference's banquet on the eve of the NEC Tournament to be held at Long Island.
This marks the fourth time in Baumert's four year career that she earned postseason NEC honors. It is the Elkhorn, NE native's second first team selection. Baumert led CCSU in kills with 313 was tops on the team and the NEC in hitting percentage with a mark of .365 in 2009. A 36 percentage point advantage over the nearest competition in the conference, it is the fourth best single-season mark ever at Central. A captain this season, Baumert also proved herself on the defensive side, tying for the conference lead in blocks per set with 1.21. Her 146 total blocks are the second most in a single-season in CCSU history. Baumert needs only eight more blocks to obtain the most blocks in a season for a Blue Devil. A winner of one NEC Player of the Week honor in 2009, Baumert is currently 48th in all of NCAA Division I in blocks.
Petrella garnered All-NEC Second Team honors for the second time in her career, and received Libero of the Year accolades for the first time. Her 522 digs this season leads the Blue Devils and the Stratford, CT native's 4.35 digs per set is second in the NEC. The 522 digs so far, mark the second most in a single season at CCSU. Petrella recorded 594 during the 2007 season. During the 2009 season Petrella broke the career record at Central for digs and is now in first place all-time by over 250 digs. With still one season left in her career as a Blue Devil, she will produce a record that will be difficult to challenge. Petrella is also second on the team with a career high 42 aces.
A second team selection and Rookie of the Year honoree in 2007, this marks the second time Bayer has received postsason NEC honors. The Blue Devil setter leads the team in assists and aces with 970 and 44, respectively. Bayer's marks of 8.58 assists and .39 aces per set are both good for third best in the NEC. The Allen, TX native is currently third in the CCSU all-time ranks with 3,134 career assists. Bayer is also second on the squad with a career best 319 digs.
Cochran becomes just the third NEC Rookie of the Year winner ever at CCSU. Baumert was the first to receive the honor in 2006 and Bayer followed that with winning the award in 2007. Cochran has earned three NEC Rookie of the Week accolades during her first season in New Britain. She is currently second on the squad with 287 kills and third on the team with 309 digs. The Adel, IA native has also totaled 26 service aces and 25 blocks on the year.
Central Connecticut heads to Long Island for the team's 10th NEC Tournament appearance in the past 12 years. CCSU finished the sesaon with an overall record of 18-14 and a conference mark of 12-4. Sacred Heart finished with that same 12-4 NEC mark and was awarded the second seed after tie-breaker rules. CCSU will challenge the Pioneers in the NEC semifinal on Saturday, November 21 at 2:30 p.m. in Brooklyn, NY. LIU earned the right to host the conference tournament after finishing the NEC schedule an undefeated 16-0. The Blackbirds will play fourth seeded Robert Morris in the other semifinal on Saturday. The winners will play in the NEC Championship on Sunday at 1:00 p.m.