By David F. Pendrys (Verified against CCSU Athletics Box Score.) [Modest Image Gallery]
NEW BRITAIN, CT- The Hartford Hawks and CCSU Blue Devils are frequent foes and they tangled again in Detrick Gymnasium friday afternoon in Central’s home opener and the opening match of the CCSU Invitational Tournament. Each team played hard but Central ended up winning 3 straight sets despite the Hawks threatening often.
Set 1 was about as back and forth as a volleyball set could get with each side being tied at 6-6, 12-12, 17-17, and 20-20 marks. Central’s offense came included a barrage of kills from Heather Trueman, Veronika Ban’s service ace, a block from Brooke Schwab. For Hartford, veterans Dionna Kirton, Lindsay Anderson, and Sareeta Nethersole provided points all across the court, and Anderson and Kirton shared a big block. Newcomer Corinne Horanzy got in on the action several times as well with her spikes, on her way to a team leading kill total. Setter Jackie Tamburri used her deceptive set attack successfully for the first, but not the last time. Her attempts to loft the ball over to a gap rather than set to a teammate would prove to be effective multiple times throughout the day.
With the set at 20-20, Central picked up a quick point, and Hartford attempted to respond but sent a ball sailing out of play. Rachel Fish of CCSU served up an Ace which hit a Hawk and careened out of bounds for a twenty third point. Hartford did stop the bleeding with a block, and Nethersole’s kill on the ensuing back and forth cut the lead to 1, but Rachel Dunlap’s smash from the net put the Blue Devils within 1. Nethersole’s put over kept the Hawks alive, but a serve out of bounds gave the set to Central 25-23.
Hartford started set 2 with the momentum as Anderson, and Horanzy crushed successive kills, and some Central errors brought the score to 4-1. Cassidy Stankowski smacked the ball into a corner for another Blue Devil point, but Horanzy struck again, and another Hawks point follow. Tamburri fooled the Central defense again with a set over the net and the score was 7-3. CCSU was not detered and the dangerous Trueman had two straight kills, followed by Ban to get back within 1. Hartford held the lead until the 16-16 mark. Horanzy and Chandler Goodwin were responsible for several points along the way, and Maya Louis picked up a kill as well. Central’s Ban, Schwab, and Trueman kept scoring, and Stankowski notched a kill and a block in this time.
Central broke the set open at this point however as two Hartford attack errors put them up and Stankowski and Dunlap shared a block. Before long it was 21-17, and Hartford called a time out to regroup. When play resumed Schwab and Ban’s blocked a Hawk attack to make the situation more dire for the red, white, and black. Goodwin landed a kill, but Ban negated her point with a tap over the net. Tamburri used another fake set attack succeeding for the third time, and Anderson and Horanzy’s block edged Hartford as close as they would get as Stankowski’s kill ricocheted off three separate Hartford players before landing on the floor. The Hawks snagged one more point, but the prolific scoring Trueman ended the set 25-20.
Central rolled into set 3 with a 5-1 opening scoring run. Makenna Lommori’s shared block with Dunlap helped, as did Stankowski’s service ace, a block from Trueman, and Dunlap hurricaning the ball into the Hawks zone. Goodwin stopped the run with a smack, but the longest volley back and forth would ensue following that, only ending when Trueman blasted her attack through the U of H blocking line delighting the crowd. Hartford was not dead yet and the teams would battle to a 13-13 tie. Horanzy was on fire in this time, aided by Nethersole and Kirton in the offensive department. CCSU’s offense continued from the usual suspect including Ban setting the ball over the entire Hartford team into a back gap.
CCSU started to put the match away at that point though, as a Hartford error gave them the serve, and Lommori served up the ball, it hit the top of the net and dropped to the floor as the Hawks dived for it. Hartford kept pace, but was held back from tying it and CCSU put together a three point scoring run built around Lommori’s block and Stankowski’s big time kill that hit a defender and flew high and far out of play. Goodwin bounced a kill off the defenders sideways, and Tamburri had a fourth kill when her set worked yet again, but that would be the team’s last point. Two Hawks errors, a Trueman kill, and one from Lommori set the stage, and Lommori and Dunlap punctuated the win with a block for the 25-18 set victory.
Statistically, CCSU’s box score indicates Trueman led the team in kills with 12, Stankowski had 9, and Ban and Dunlap 6. Lommori had 30 assists on the day, and libero Amalia Ashley 6 digs, she also had some key defensive saves to keep the ball in play throughout the match. Ban had 2 service aces of the team’s 5. Stankowski and Schwab each had a solo block, and Stankowski shared 3 more, Schwab had 4 shared. Trueman shared 4, and Dunlap participated in 6.
Hartford’s Horanzy lead the team in kills with 14, Nethersole had 9, Goodwin 6. Goodwin had a efficient .455 kill percentage as well. Tamburri in addition to 4 points had 33 assists, and libero Paola Llerandi had 15 digs. Louis had the lone solo block on the team, Anderson shared 3.
The CCSU Invitational continues today. The four teams involved also include NJIT and Fordham.