Women's Volleyball Squares Off Against In-State Rivals Sacred Heart at Home on Saturday, Travel to CCSU on Sunday

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Quinnipiac University (1-12, 0-4 NEC)
vs. Sacred Heart (4-15, 2-3 NEC)
Saturday Oct. 6, 2012 – 1 p.m.                                                                   
Burt Kahn Court – Hamden, Conn. 

Quinnipiac University (1-12, 0-4 NEC)
@ Central Connecticut State (9-9, 4-1 NEC)
Sunday Sep. 30, 2012 – 1 p.m.
Detrick Gymnasium – New Britain, Conn.

Intra-State Showdowns

The Bobcats women's volleyball team is ready to take on intra-state foes Sacred Heart and Central Conn. St. this weekend as the Pioneers enter Burt Kahn Court on Saturday at 1 p.m. and the Blue Devils will host Quinnipiac on Sunday with the game starting at 1 p.m.

Last One

Quinnipiac hosted St. Francis (Pa.) on Saturday, Sept. 29 and Robert Morris on Sunday, Sept. 30 for a weekend series and home opener for the Bobcats. The Knights and Colonials went on to defeat the Bobcats in straight sets, 3-0, in both matches as they both sit at the top of the Northeast Conference standings after two weeks of conference play.

All-Time Against the Field

After claiming victories in their first seven showdowns, Quinnipiac has failed to beat Sacred Heart in their last 11 meetings for a combined 7-11 overall series record. The Pioneers are also currently riding a 25-set unbeaten streak against the Bobcats. The Blue Devils have dominated their meetings since the teams started playing one another in 1999. Quinnipiac heads into the weekend with an all-time record of 1-18 against Central Conn. St. with their only victory coming on Oct. 30, 2002 in straight sets, 3-0, at home. The Bobcats however nearly pulled out a win last season as they battled to a 3-1 loss at CCSU on Sep. 25, 2011 and finished one game short on Oct. 30, 2011 as they lost at home, 3-2.

Scouting the Pioneers

Sacred Heart comes into Saturday's game with a 4-15 overall record and 2-3 mark in the NEC. They have lost two in a row, including a 3-1 defeat to the Blue Devils on Wednesday. Despite the losses, the Pioneers feature the most potent offensive attack in the NEC. Through five conference games the team is averaging 14.55 kills per game and has compiled 48 more kills than the next closest team. They lead the conference team standings in assists (13.65 per game), are third in service aces (1.50 per game), and even average the most digs (16.80 per game) by nearly two per game over the second place team in the NEC. Sacred Heart does rank near the bottom, 8th in the NEC in blocks per game (1.05). The Pioneers feature four players in the NEC's top-10 list for kills with senior Johanna Ovsenek leading the way at 2nd place in the conference standings with 3.75 kills per game. Bryant is the only other team with more than one player ranked in the top-10. Sophomore Alissa Young (3.40 kills per game), freshman Karly Shockey (2.89), and senior Elise Sage (2.75) make up the foursome and sophomore Alisa Mesa finds herself as the NEC leader in assists with 11.47.

Scouting the Blue Devils

Central Connecticut State has dominated NEC play thus far with a 4-1 record in conference games and 9-9 overall mark. They just defeated Sacred Heart 3-1 on Wednesday and defeated Fairleigh Dickinson on Sept. 23 for the Knight's only loss in conference play for the season. The Blue Devils play a great all-around game as they rank second among NEC conference games in hitting percentage (.260), opponent hitting percentage (.159), third in assists (12.78 per game), third in kills (13.50), first in blocks by nearly one per game (3.06, 2nd place Robert Morris has 2.33), tied for third in service aces (1.50) and third in digs (14.78). Sophomore Rachel Dunlap comes into the weekend with the best hitting percentage among all NEC players with .451 and senior Emily Cochran leads the Blue Devils in kills with 3.06 per game. One of the team's strongest assets is their blocking ability, ranking three players in the NEC's top eight for total blocks per game.

Celestin Surging Up Leaderboard

With a team-high nine kills against St. Francis (Pa.) and 15 for the weekend, the Bobcat's sophomore right side Tanner Celestin has been on a tear of late, leading the team in kills over the past 10 matches with 52, and bringing her team-leading total to 71 for the season. She has tallied at least four kills for the Bobcats in eight of the team's previous nine games.

Double Digits Digs

Junior captain libero Logan Riker tallied 18 more digs last weekend for the Bobcats to give her 117 for the season. The outings over the weekend give her 993 for her career as she nears Kelby Carey's program-record 1,017 digs.

Taylor Reaches 500-club

Senior right side Taylor Payne's third kill against Robert Morris on Sunday gave her 500 for her career and represents only the fifth Bobcat to ever reach the milestone. She joins Kelby Carey, Jenna Benigno, Stephanie Logan, and Kalyn Hundley as the only members of the 500-kill club for Quinnipiac and after 10 for the weekend's two games she stands at 501 for her career.

Surging Forward

Celestin and senior Taylor Payne have both factored heavily in the Bobcats' offensive attack recently. Each had gone seven consecutive games recording at least three kills before the team's loss to LIU Brooklyn on Sept. 23 where each recorded one kill. They have since continued their offensive surge as the pair has combined to record at least three kills in nine of the last 10 matches. Celestin is averaging 7.22 kills per match during the nine-game stretch while Payne's average stands at 5.00 per match.

Freshman Sensation

Outside hitter Chandler Thornton has impressed during her rookie campaign as she was named to the Bucknell Invitational All-Tournament Team earlier in the year and currently ranks second on the team in kills (51), third in hitting percentage (.070), and third in digs (58). She posted one of her best games on the year against Robert Morris on Sunday with a team-high seven kills and only two errors on 24 total attempts for a .208 hitting percentage.

Triple Threat

Three Bobcat players achieved double-doubles in the Bobcat's win over Providence on Sept. 14. Sophomore setter Brittanie Robinson recorded 37 assists and 13 digs, freshman outside hitter Chandler Thornton had a team-high 13 kills and 13 digs, and senior middle hitter Taylor Payne's game-winning kill gave her 10 for the game to go along with 11 digs.

On Deck

Next weekend will feature a pair of local conference rivals as the Bobcats take on Sacred Heart and Central Connecticut State. They matchup against Sacred Heart on Saturday Oct. 6 at 1 p.m. and follow with a road matchup in New Britain against the Blue Devils on Sunday Oct. 7 also at 1 p.m. Fans can find scores, stats and game recaps at the official Athletics Website of Quinnipiac University at www.QuinnipiacBobcats.com.

Contact: Maxx McNall; maxx.mcnall@quinnipiac.edu