NEW BRITAIN, Conn. – The Sacred Heart women's volleyball team nearly withstood an early 2-0 set lead by Central Connecticut State forcing a fifth set. The hosts managed to hold the Pioneers to negative hitting in the deciding round escaping with the match victory, 3-2, Friday evening inside of Detrick Gymnasium. The conference loss becomes Sacred Heart's sixth of the season while CCSU clutches the second spot of the Northeast Conference rankings with an 8-3 league clip.
For the visitors, Liisel Nelis grabbed a double-double landing 19 kills and corralling 12 digs. Kiki Robinson too earned double-figures in multiple categories helping on 45 attacks and adding 23 digs. Madi Pope's 16 digs also contributed significantly to SHU's defense while Gianna Scioletti (8), Rianna McNamee (5) and Julia Murawinski (5) raised for blocks. Kills from Makayla Dole (21), Murawinski (8) and McNamee helped round out the Pioneer's offense. Dole's tally tabbed a game-high.
The Blue Devils' Madelyn Kaprelyan led her team with 15 kills while Samantha McCreath added 10. Erin McDermott and Kaitlyn Kushman assisted 29 and 21 times, respectively. Lindsey Massicotte registered 23 digs and Maddie Smith gathered 14 rejections at the net.
Sacred Heart – 11-13, 5-6 NEC
Central Connecticut State – 15-7, 8-3 NEC
First Set: CCSU 25-18
- The host claimed seven of the set's opening nine points as Kaprelyan's kill gave CCSU a five-point advantage.
- The Blue Devils managed to flirt with a five-point cushion evidenced by a 16-11 lead.
- Sacred Heart managed to creep back in seeing itself down just two as Kaprelyan saw her kill unlucky, 17-15. Another CCSU mistake on the next serve separated the two teams by only one point.
- SHU called for time ahead of a four-point lead favoring CCSU as the foe began to pick up momentum once again, 20-16.
- Dole gave SHU the point out of the break and both clubs traded points for the next two sequences, 21-18.
- Unfortunately, the Pioneers were unable to break Lindsey Massicotte's serve. CCSU tacked on three uninterrupted points for the set final and the early set lead.
Second Set: CCSU 25-21
- Despite the Blue Devils winning the first point, Pioneers got out to an early lead as Dole (3), Nelis and McNamee landed kills in the early onset, 8-4.
- CCSU's Morgan Woycik and Smith got the touch on an attack by Nelis to deadlock the score at 10 apiece.
- From there, both teams managed to keep within striking distance of one another until the Blue Devils eked out a 4-0 run for the 22-18 lead forcing the visitors to regroup.
- Out of the intermission, SHU pinned three more points to its total to the credit of Murawinski who landed two attacks assisted by Pope and Scioletti, 22-21.
- The host broke for time and out of their huddle rattled off three straight points to take the set.
Third Set: SHU 25-22
- Both teams stayed on even footing as the set began before SHU fired off seven consecutive points, on Nelis' serve, 12-5.
- The Blue Devils mounted a late comeback as CCSU secured a five-point flurry bringing the set score to 17-15, and only behind two.
- From there, neither team got out by more than a three-point reach.
- McCreath nearly filled CCSU's gap completely, 23-22, before back-to-back points for SHU awarded it the set victory.
Fourth Set: SHU 25-21
- The Pioneers added a six-point cushion to their side, 10-6, with that being the largest advantage by any team in the set.
- A successful block committed by McCreath and Smith evened the playing field at 18-up.
- SHU moved back in front earning the set's next two points, 20-18, at the hands of Dole and Scioletti.
- CCSU would level the score again collecting a SHU miscue and a kill from Smith, 20-20.
- Both teams traded a point before SHU relentlessly emitted four points to tie the match score at 2-up.
Fifth Set: CCSU 15-10
- CCSU caught fire early earning the first five points, before a kill from Kiley Ridgway got the visitors on the board, 5-1.
- SHU managed to get within two on the tail end of a 3-0 spurt finished off by a Megan Mondon service ace 8-6.
- The Blue Devils negated the Pioneer's spurt rallying off a 3-0 run of their own to put the visitors back down five, 11-6, forcing them to call for time.
- The hosts turned around and committed two errors before trading points with SHU for a 12-9 lead.
- CCSU picked up another two points, the second bringing the set to match point, 14-9.
- Dole slowed the hosts with her kill from Robinson and brought SHU within four.
- Unfortunately, that would be the last point earned for the Pioneers as Woycik sailed her attack successfully in Pioneer territory settling the final.
Sacred Heart turns around and plays Bryant tomorrow, November 4 with the first serve set for 5:00 pm in Smithfield, Rhode Island.