BROOKLYN, N.Y. – The Bryant University volleyball team travels to Brooklyn this weekend for the Northeast Conference Championship, hosted by LIU Brooklyn at the Steinberg Wellness Center.
Bryant will begin the weekend Friday at 6 p.m. against Central Connecticut. With a victory, the Bulldogs would advance to play LIU Brooklyn or Sacred Heart Saturday with the NEC's automatic qualifier to the NCAA tournament on the line.
Series History vs. Central Connecticut
The Bulldogs are 8-17 all-time against the Blue Devils and 7-15 since making the move to Division I.
Bryant took both regular season meetings against Central Connecticut with a sweep in New Britain and four-set victory in Smithfield, marking just the second time Bryant has won both matchups in the regular season.
Friday marks the second straight season Bryant and Central Connecticut have met in the NEC semifinals. The Blue Devils outlasted the Bulldogs for a five-set victory in Brooklyn a year ago. Kirstyn Sperry (Phoenix, Ariz.) posted career-highs with 50 assists and 25 digs, while Grace Richmeyer (DeSoto, Mo.) matched her career-best with 18 kills.
Bulldog Notes and Notables
- Bryant is 20-12 overall and earned the No. 2 seed in the NEC tournament with a 10-4 record in conference play.
- The Bulldogs' 20 wins in 2018 are the second-most in Bryant Division I era, behind the 21 victories in 2017.
- Bryant's senior class has won 79 matches in their four years in Black and Gold, the most of any class in the Division I era.
- Senior Kristin Kingi (Thousand Oaks, Calif.) enters the weekend 28 digs away from breaking Bryant's Division I career digs record of 1,359 set by Debora Magalhaes in 2015.
- Sophomore Erika Ward (Rochester, Mich.) is 29 digs away from 1,000 for her collegiate career heading into Friday's match. Ward's 971 career digs are the most by a Bulldog in her sophomore season in program history.
- The Bryant freshman class has combined for 31 performances of 10 or more kills this season, including 23 from Caroline Kennedy (San Juan Capistrano, Calif.).
- The Bulldogs feature three of the top nine players in the NEC in kills per set: redshirt-senior Julia Flynn (Pembroke, Mass.) (3.21), Kennedy (3.03) and Kingi (2.65).
- Head coach Theresa Garlacy won her 500th career match in the Sept. 8 sweep of Coppin State. Garlacy is now at 514 career wins entering the weekend.
A Bit About Central Connecticut
The Blue Devils are 13-12 overall and went 10-4 in NEC play. The Bulldogs earned the head-to-head tiebreaker with a 2-0 mark in the regular season series.
Madelyn Kaprelyan ranks third in the NEC in hitting percentage (.295) and fourth in kills per set (3.22). Gala Galabova leads the NEC in blocks per set (1.26), while Erin McDermott is second in aces per set (0.48).
Up Next: NEC Final
With a win Friday, Bryant would play in Saturday's NEC Championship final at 3 p.m. The Bulldogs would face the winner of Friday's first semifinal between LIU Brooklyn and Sacred Heart.