Last Games of the Season For Women's Volleyball; Travel to Sacred Heart on Saturday, Senior Day on Sunday Against CCSU

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Quinnipiac University Bobcats (2-21, 1-13 NEC)
@ Sacred Heart Pioneers (9-20, 7-8 NEC)
Saturday, November 10 – 5 p.m.
William H. Pitt Center – Fairfield, Conn.

Quinnipiac University Bobcats (2-21, 1-13 NEC)
vs. Central Connecticut State Blue Devils (15-12, 10-4 NEC)
Sunday, November 11 – 1:30 p.m.
Burt Kahn Court – Hamden, Conn.

Senior's Time to Shine

The Bobcats and their three senior have one last weekend to make their lasting mark on the program as the Quinnipiac women's volleyball team will play in its final regular season games this weekend. They first travel to in-state rival Sacred Heart on Saturday before welcoming fellow in-state rival Central Conn. St. to Burt Kahn Court on Sunday for Senior Day. After coming off a victory for only the second time this season, the Bobcats will look to ride that wave of energy into the final games of the 2012 season.

Last One

They had a pair of games last week against Bryant and St. Francis (N.Y.), both home affairs. Beginning with the Bulldogs, Quinnipiac couldn't get much offense going, hitting no more than nine kills in a set all night. They ended up losing in straight sets to Bryant, 3-0, with sophomore Tanner Celestin leading the way in defeat with eight kills and two service aces. On Sunday the Bobcats finally found what they were looking for all season as they swept the Terriers, 3-0, to snap their 15-game losing streak. It had been a long-fought battle but the Bobcats received incredible individual efforts up-and-down their roster as junior Bonnie Conklin posted a career-high 13 kills, sophomore Brittanie Robinson registered 34 assists, and sophomore Tierra Allen had her first double-digit kill outing of the season with 10.

All-Time Against the Field

If history means anything in these upcoming games, the Bobcats will have a tough time with their next two opponents. Against Sacred Heart the Bobcats own a respectable 7-12 all-time record, but all seven of those wins came in their first seven meetings. Quinnipiac has lost 12 straight to the Pioneers including nine straight without winning a set. Earlier this season, playing in Burt Kahn Court, the Bobcats fell once again in straight sets, 3-0, but the team did have three players in double-figures in digs and Tanner Celestin chipped in a game-high 11 kills. The Bobcats have had and even more difficult time against the Blue Devils as they own a 1-19 all-time record against them. Their one victory came on Oct. 30, 2002 as the Bobcats swept the Blue Devils at home, 3-0. Since then, Central Conn. St. has rattled off 16 straight victories with 10 of the 16 by a score of, 3-0. In their first meeting this season, the Bobcats couldn't defend against the strong defensive play of the Blue Devils, who registered 26 total blocks on the way to the win.

Scouting the Pioneers

With two losses last weekend, the Pioneers were officially knocked out of NEC playoff contention as they enter their final game of the season. They come in with a 9-20 overall record and 7-8 NEC mark. The Pioneers have made a living beating the teams below them in the NEC standings, as they stand 6-1 this season against Fairleigh Dickinson, Bryant, St. Francis (NY), and Quinnipiac. Their only victory against the top-four NEC teams is against Robert Morris, whom they barely squeaked out a 3-2 win. Despite their up-and-down season, the Pioneers enter the weekend with the second-most powerful offense in the conference as they rank second in kills (13.38 per-game), assists (12.68 per-game), and service aces (1.81 per-game). Where Sacred Heart lacks is in its blocking as they rank last in conference-play in blocks, averaging only 0.89 per-game, the only team to average less than 1.25 blocks per-game. But the team makes up for it with the ability to dig, as they are first in the conference in digs (15.34 per-game). Their offensive leaders are a pair of seniors, Elise Sage and Johanna Ovsenek, who have nearly identical stats as they each have 138 kills with 40 errors. Karly Shockey is the team's leader in kills at 272 for the season and 2.72 per-game average. Alisa Mesa might be the NEC's best setter as she currently ranks second in assists per-game at 11.07 with 898 total for the season.

Scouting the Blue Devils

Central Conn. St. enters the weekend with a guaranteed spot in the NEC Semifinal Round as they own a 15-12 overall record with a 10-4 mark in the NEC. The Blue Devils have rarely been challenged in NEC competition as all 10 of their conference wins went no more than four sets but they have gone a combined 0-4 against the two top teams, Robert Morris and LIU Brooklyn. They will face off against Bryant and Quinnipiac in their final regular season tune ups before making their way to the NEC playoffs. They pose a threat to ever team they play in their all-around prowess, ranking no worse than fourth in any major statistical category in conference play. Where the team is strongest is in its blocking ability, ranking second with a 2.63 per-game average. Their earlier meeting this season with Quinnipiac was dominated by Central Conn. St. and their blockers as they totaled 26 on the afternoon, the most of any opponent against the Bobcats this season. Their hitting percentage at .240 also ranks second-highest in the conference with senior standout Jamie Rademacher second among NEC players with a .387 hitting percentage. Rachel Dunlap also is in the top-five at .348 but the most utilized attacker is Emily Cochran whose posted 3.14 kills per-game, the fifth-most of any player in conference games. The Blue Devils also have three players in the top-five among NEC competition in blocks per-game, no other team has more than two in the top-10. Makenna Lommori, Dunlap, and Rademacher all have 59 total blocks in conference play and are tied for third among NEC players with 1.18 blocks per-game. Lommori is also the team's setter and has posted 907 assists for the season.

Master of Her Domain

With 15 more digs last weekend, junior Logan Riker continues her strong season after coming back from an injury-plagued 2011 season. She already has established a new program-record for career digs and continues to add to her impressive total.

Quinnipiac women's volleyball all-time career dig leaders

  1. Logan Riker, '13                               1,110
  2. Kelby Carey, '11                               1,017
  3. Kayla Lawler, '11                              819
  4. Erin Overdevest, '09                         814
  5. Crista Valentino, '08                         754

Logan Right in Line

The Bobcat's libero has been on a tear of late, compiling seven double-digit dig performances in her last 12 matches. Throughout the 14 conferences matches, Riker has averaged 3.07 digs per-game which places her ninth among all NEC players in that stretch.

DIGS (Minimum 1.00 per game)

Player                                                 Team     Cl    G   No.  Avg/G

1.  VINAS JOY, Adriana                    LIU        FR   47   209   4.45

2.  RAMIREZ, Feliz                         SFNY     JR   39   148   3.79

3.  MONGER, Lindsey                     RMU      SR   52   185   3.56

4.  MERCADO, Dianis                    SHU       JR   52   183   3.52

5.  SCHUMACHER, Brittany            CCSU     SO   50   173   3.46

6.  LOHR, Elena                                BRY       SO   45   154   3.42

7.  HONG, Deborah                         FDU       SO   55   186   3.38

8.  CATUCCI, Andrea                        RMU      SR   52   172   3.31

9.  RIKER, Logan                            QU         JR   41   126   3.07

10. WHEELER, Meaghan                FDU      SR   48   136   2.83

Here She Comes!

Bonnie Conklin is coming off the best game of her career in Sunday's victory over St. Francis (NY) as she posted a career-high 13 kills. Over conference play, Conklin has been one of the team's most efficient players with nine consecutive games with a positive hitting percentage and her .522 percentage from Sunday's victory is the highest of any Bobcat this season.

Fine Freshman Year

Quinnipiac freshman outside hitter Chandler Thornton has been one of the team's premier players over the season as she ranks second on the team in kills (127), hitting percentage (.101), and digs (130). She came one dig short of matching her career-high with 12 against St. Francis (Pa.) and posted a near double-double with nine kills and eight digs against St. Francis (NY) this past weekend.

Some Serious Firepower

Thornton has been a force on the offensive end all season and over her past eight matches she has put it all together and is starting to see her numbers increase significantly. After compiling more than seven kills in a match just once prior to Oct. 13, Thornton has since reeled off five such matches in her past eight contests. She posted a career-high 14 kills against Bryant on Oct. 17 and has accumulated the most kills (64) over the past eight matches than any other Bobcat.

Triple Threat

Being a setter over six-feet tall isn't the norm in women's volleyball but Brittanie Robinson has certainly made it work, being one of the team's most dynamic players since converting from her outside hitter position into the main facilitator. She has strung together several strong performances including 34 assists on Sunday, the most for a player in a three-set match all season for Quinnipiac. She also contributed two service aces, six digs, and two blocks at the setter position. Her proficiency has been strong enough that she has cracked the top-seven among NEC players in assist average for the season.

ASSISTS (Minimum 5.00 per game)
Player                                                 Team      Cl      G   No.  Avg/G
1.  DJURIC, Vera                                  LIU        SO   47   530  11.28
2.  MESA, Alisa                                   SHU       SO   46   509  11.07
3.  KISER, Kierstin                             SFPA     SR   54   586  10.85
4.  LOMMORI, Makenna                  CCSU      FR   50   516  10.32
5.  BUTLER, Allison                         FDU        FR   55   505   9.18
6.  HOFFMAN, Hannah                     RMU      SO   52   458   8.81

7.  ROBINSON, Brittanie              QU          SO   42   276   6.57

DJ Tanner in the House

The sophomore outside hitter Tanner Celestin continues to lead the Bobcat's offensive attack as she compiled another 16 kills over the weekend to give her 154 for the year. With eight kills against both Bryant and St. Francis (NY), Celestin has now gone 12 straight matches with at least six kills (2.45 per-game average).

Ace in the Hole

Bonnie Conklin has been a force in the middle for the Bobcat's defense all season as she leads the team with 55 blocks. She compiled a career-high and season-high for any Bobcat player with eight total blocks on Oct. 13 against St. Francis (NY). Conklin also put together a career-high 13 kills against St. Francis (NY) over the weekend and led the team with three blocks over the two-game weekend series at home.

Contact: Maxx McNall;