Volleyball Wins NEC Championship With Sweep of CCSU

SHU Volleyball won the 2019 NEC Championship and advance to the NCAA Tournament! (Credit: Jason Cohn)
SHU Volleyball won the 2019 NEC Championship and advance to the NCAA Tournament! (Credit: Jason Cohn)

The Sacred Heart University women's volleyball team swept Central Connecticut State University, 3-0, to earn the 2019 Northeast Conference Championship. The Pioneers improve to 20-11 on the season.

Sarah Ciszek was named the Most Valuable Player, after a seven-kill, 12-dig, 37-assist effort in the championship match. She was joined on the All-Tournament Team by Liisel Nelis, Makayla Dole, Gianna Scioletti and Emma Smallcomb.

The Pioneers earn an NCAA Tournament berth with the victory. The NCAA Tournament selection show will air on December 1st on ESPNU.

Turning Point:

  • Trailing 23-21 in the second set, Nelis scored four consecutive kills to give the Pioneers the set win

By the Numbers:

  • SHU earns its third NEC Championship and first since 2011
  • The Pioneers have won 20 matches for the fifth-time in program history
  • Sciolettie hit .800 Saturday afternoon, with eight kills and no errors, to go along with five blocks
  • Nelis finished with a 13-kill, 15-dig double-double
  • Dole had 10 kills on Saturday
  • Smallcomb finished with a dozen digs

First Set: SHU 25, CCSU 23

  • SHU opened with the first four points, capped by a Nelis service ace
  • A Dole block, which she followed with a kill, gave the Pioneers an 8-1 lead and forced a CCSU timeout
  • Palanchi put a ball straight down from the middle out of the timeout, for a 9-1 advantage
  • CCSU scored the next two points and 10 of 11 to tie the score, 10-10
  • Dole put the Pioneers back in front, with a kill off the Blue Devils block, 11-10
  • The set stayed within three points, 17-14 in favor of the Pioneers through an 18-18 tie
  • CCSU took its first lead, 19-18, on a block by Isabelle Roufs and Samantha McCreath
  • A setting error on the next point brought SHU level, 19-19
  • A Roufs kill was followed by a McCreath block and kill to give CCSU a 22-19 advantage
  • Dole snapped the run with a cross court kill and Nells scored off the CCSU block to get SHU within one, 22-21 to necessitate a CCSU timeout
  • A SHU service error gave CCSU a 23-21 lead
  • Nelis answered with consecutive kills, the second after a long rally kept alive by a sliding Jasmine Rogers dig, to tie the score 23-23
  • Nelis gave SHU set point with a kill off the Blue Devils block
  • A tip kill from Nelis gave SHU the win, 25-23

Second Set: SHU 25, CCSU 24

  • SHU scored the first two points of the set, with a Ciszek kill for the second
  • The teams traded points through 5-4
  • Dole and Ciszek followed with kills to push to the 7-4 advantage
  • That run extend to 5-1, with Ciszek, Scioletti and Nelis kills making it 10-5 and forcing a Blue Devil timeout
  • A CCSU error, a back-to-back Emma Smallcomb service aces gave SHU a 13-5 lead
  • After a Central block, the Pioneers run continued, and a Julia Murawinski and Palanchi block opened a 19-8 lead
  • The Pioneers lead opened to a dozen, on a Ciszek kill, 21-9
  • CCSU scored three of the next four, and were against within 10 at 23-13
  • Nelis kill to get set point, and CCSU fended off the first, but Nelis ended the set on the next point

Third Set: SHU 25 CCSU 16

  • The squads traded two point runs to open the set
  • Scioletti and Dole kills gave SHU a 4-2 advantage and started a 3-1 run that gave SHU a 5-3 lead
  • Kills from Morgan Woycik and Roufs retied the score 5-5
  • After an error gave CCSU a 6-5 edge, a Dole kill and blocks from Ciszek and Palanchi gave SHU a 7-6 edge
  • A Ciszek kill made the run 3-0 and the lead 8-6
  • CCSU scored next to close within one, 8-7, before a service error gave SHU a 9-7 lead
  • That started a 6-0 SHU run that included two Scioletti blocks, including a solo to make the score 14-7
  • Nicole Kramer started the CCSU rally as the Blue Devils scored four straight to get to 14-11 and force a Pioneer timeout
  • Ciszek killed a pass from Jasmine Rogers out of the break, which CCSU's Emma Henderson answered
  • Scioletti recorded back-to-back kills, to give SHU a 17-12 lead
  • The Blue Devils closed back within three at 17-14, before an error gave SHU the four-point edge
    Murawinski and Palanchi sandwiched a CCSU kill to give SHU a 20-15 advantage
  • An ace from Lillian Vargo made the score 21-15 and CCSU took a timeout
  • Dole, Ciszek, Nelis and Palanchi had kills out of the break to secure the crown


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