The Central Connecticut volleyball team held off Sacred Heart, 3-2, in a thrilling five-set match on Friday night at the Pitt Center in Fairfield, CT. The Blue Devils took the first two sets and then took the decisive fifth set to earn the win and improve to 9-6 overall and 2-2 in Northeast Conference action.
The Blue Devils travel to Fairleigh Dickinson for a 4:00 p.m. match on Saturday.
CCSU took the match with scores of 25-18, 25-21, 22-25, 25-27, 15-12.
The Blue Devils took the opening set after using a 5-0 run midway through the frame to build a 15-9 cushion. CCSU would close the set out with three straight points.
Central scored five straight points in the second set and built a 15-8 lead. The Pioneers would close within, 24-21, with four straight points, but a ball handling error on SHU would close the set and put CCSU ahead, 2-0, in the match.
CCSU led, 21-17, in the third set before the Pioneers used a run of four straight points to tie the score and then closed the set with four unanswered points to extend the match.
The fourth set was tied 21-all before Central would set up a chance for match point with three straight points to make it 25-24. The Pioneers rallied with the final three points to take the set and tie the match.
Central raced out to a 5-2 lead in the fifth set and would push the lead to 14-7. The Pioneers would stay alive with a run of five straight points to get within 14-12 before a service error ended the match and gave CCSU the win.
Junior Raquel Quirarte and sophomore Madelyn Kaprelyan each had 11 kills to lead the Central attack. Quirarte added nine digs and Kaprelyan had nine blocks to each narrowly miss a double-double. Junior Kaitlyn Kushman had 21 assists and seven digs.
The Blue Devils' 23 team blocks set a team-record for a match, while Smith's 13 total blocks is second on the single-match list.
The Blue Devils face Fairleigh Dickinson at 4:00 p.m. on Saturday in Hackensack, NJ.