The Central Connecticut volleyball team had its season end in the Northeast Conference semifinals with a 3-2 setback against Bryant on Friday night in Brooklyn, NY. Junior Madelyn Kaprelyan, who was named the NEC Player of the Year on Thursday, came out and posted her fifth triple-double on the season to lead Central.
The loss ended CCSU's season with a 13-13 record.
Kaprelyan posted 18 kills, 20 assists and 11 digs in the match. Sophomore Emma Henderson added a double-double with 11 kills and 22 digs. Junior Morgan Woycik added 10 kills and junior Erin McDermott had 23 assists.
The Blue Devils took the opening set after erasing a four-point deficit. The Blue Devils trailed, 16-12, before a kill by junior Madelyn Kaprelyn snapped a Bryant 4-0 run. CCSU would chip away at the deficit and got consecutive blocks to tie the match at 19-19. Junior Gala Galabova, the NEC's leader in blocks, was involved in both rejections. The Central run would go to three points to take a 20-19 lead. A kill by sophomore Eline van Heijningen would tie the game at 21-all and CCSU would roll off four straight points to close the match. Sophomore Emma Henderson served an ace to start the streak and a block by van Heijningen and Kaprelyan closed. the game, 25-21.
Bryant bounced back in the second set to tie the match. The Bulldogs raced out to a 5-0 lead in the set, but CCSU responded with a run of six points. An ace by Henderson tie the match at 5-5 before an error gave Central the lead. Bryant regained the lead with a run of four points that made it 15-12, forcing a CCSU timeout. A kill by Kaprelyan would tie the set at 16-16 before the Bulldogs scored three straight to take the lead for good. A kill by junior Morgan Woycik would get Central within, 24-23, but the Bulldogs closed the set out with a kill to even the match.
In the third set Central rattled off five unanswered points in the early going to build an early lead. Woycik hammered a kill to open the streak before three straight Bryant errors. A kill by Henderson would put CCSU ahead, 10-5. Bryant would battle back with a five-point run to take a 12-11 lead. The teams would go back-and-forth until Bryant ran off a late 3-0 run to go ahead 23-19. Central rallied, starting with back-to-back kills by sophomore Ashlyn Eisenga and Kaprelyan before a kill by Henderson would tie the match at 23-23. The Blue Devils completed the comeback with kills by Kaprelyan and Henderson to win the game, 25-19, and close the frame with six unanswered points to take a 2-1 lead in the match.
With their backs to the wall, the Bulldogs opened the fourth set strong building a 7-3 lead. Central would fight back to tie the match, drawing even at 8-all following an unassisted kill at the net by Henderson. Bryant responded with a 5-1 run and following an ace to make it 13-9 CCSU was forced to call timeout. The Bulldogs extended the margin to five points before Blue Devils came right back with a kill by Kaprelyan, followed by an ace from senior Kaitlyn Kushman to open a run of seven straight points. Back-to-back blocks by the tandem of Galabova and Kaprelyan capped the run to give Central a 17-15 lead. Bryant would push back with consecutive kills to draw even eventually at 19-19 before eventually taking a lead at 22-21 to force a Blue Devils timeout in an attempt to stem the momentum. The Bulldogs would continue their roll with three points to close the set with a 25-21 win to force a fifth set.
In the decisive game, Bryant would get three straight points to build a 9-5 advantage. CCSU would interrupt the run with a point, but the Bulldogs ran off three straight points to push their lead to 12-6 before a CCSU timeout. The Blue Devils would come back with consecutive points to end the Bryant run. CCSU would take advantage of consecutive Bulldogs errors to close within, 13-11, forcing a timeout. Bryant would come out of the timeout and get two points to close the match.
Bryant advanced to the NEC title game for the first time with the win. Fourth-seeded Sacred Heart upended the top-seed LIU Brooklyn in the first semifinal to advance to Saturday's championship match.