The Central Connecticut volleyball team dropped its opener at the Hartford Invitational to Niagara, 3-1 (25-20, 18-25, 27-25, 25-18), on Friday. Four Blue Devils finished with double-digit kills and four others had double-figure digs.
Central's record moves to 4-3 on the season, while Niagara improves to 3-5.
Central will face NJIT at 10:00 a.m. on Saturday, before closing out the tournament against Hartford at 4:30 p.m.
Junior Kaitlyn Kushman posted her third double-double of the year with 24 assists and 20 digs, while classmate Raquel Quirarte collected her second on the year with 19 digs and 11 kills. Freshman Samantha McCreath posted a career-high 28 digs and five blocks, to go with nine kills.
Sophomore Morgan Woycik led CCSU with 16 kills, while senior Maddie Smith had 10 kills and eight blocks. Sophomore Madelyn Kaprelyan finished with 10 kills and sophomore Erin McDermott had 23 assists. Senior Lindsey Massicotte had 21 digs, her fourth match with 20+ digs on the year.
Niagara took the opening set after erasing a CCSU lead midway through the frame. The Blue Devils were within, 19-18, but the Purple Eagles closed on a 6-2 run to take the set.
Central evened the match by claiming the second set. A kill by Smith capped a 6-1 run to give CCSU a 10-6 lead. The Blue Devils would lead by as much as 23-15 before a kill by sophomore Madelyn Kaprelyan closed out the set.
Niagara would close out the match taking the next two sets. In the third set, the teams went back-and-forth before the Purple Eagles scored three straight points to take the set, 27-25.
CCSU led, 14-13, in the fourth set before Niagara ran off six straight points to edge in front. The Blue Devils were unable to get closer than four points the rest of the way and Niagara scored the final two points to take the match.