Colonials lose lead, fall to CCSU


Photo credit: Morgan Torchia

Cody Lally

The Colonials held a 2 sets to 1 lead heading into the fourth set, but couldn’t pick up another set win to win the match. Adjustments to RMU’s blocking game by Central Connecticut State powered the Blue Devils to victory on Saturday night at the North Athletic Complex.

Central Connecticut began the first set strong, showing off why they are tied for first place in the NEC. The Blue Devils built a 6-1 lead early in the set, and never let the Colonials get any closer than four points. Central Connecticut squashed any rally that Robert Morris tried to mount en route to a 25-19 set win.

The second set had no shortage of excitement. The Colonials rebounded from a dismal first set to take an early 5-0 lead. RMU would hold a considerable lead until midway through the set when the Blue Devils powered back and took a 16-15 lead. The teams would find themselves tied at 24 each. Needing to win by a two-point margin, the teams continued the set. Robert Morris served to 6 match points until they finally came away with a 32-30 set win.

The two teams picked up where they left off in the third set. Each team held multiple two-point leads throughout the set, but just like the second set, found themselves knotted at 24. RMU would again emerge victorious with a 28-26 set win.

At this point in the contest, it was evident that the Robert Morris blocking game was crucial to their success. Freshman middle blocker Maria Alfano powered a lethal blocking game in the second and third sets that devastated the Blue Devils.

Central Connecticut came back strong in the fourth set, determined to not let the game escape them. The Blue Devils built an eight-point lead and never looked back, cruising to a 25-20 set win. This forced a decisive set five.

The Colonials ran out of gas in the fifth set. In a set to only 15 points, the Blue Devils built an enormous 7-0 lead off of errors and miscommunications. Central Connecticut won the set 15-7 and the match 3 sets to 2.

The blocking game that was crucial to RMU’s early success faltered late in the match: “I think they knew where our block was,” said Maria Alfano. “We had to make some quick adjustments.” Senior Deja Tamlin added, “they saw the block and started hitting around it.”

For Deja Tamlin and Brianna Frakes, tonight was their last Robert Morris home game. Both seniors will soon be graduating and leaving behind a young Colonial’s volleyball team. Before that though, they have the NEC tournament to take on. The Colonials are seeded fourth and have clinched an NEC tournament berth. The tournament is no stranger to Tamlin and Frakes. Both girls won the 2015 NEC championship with the Colonials and have appeared in the tournament 3 out of their 4 years.

“We know what it takes to win a championship, and we have a great group of girls,” said Frakes.

“The most important thing is to stay calm and relaxed,” said Tamlin

The Colonials will take on #1 LIU Brooklyn next Friday in the NEC semifinals. The tournament, hosted by LIU Brooklyn, will also feature #2 Bryant against #3 Central Connecticut. The winners will play for the NEC championship next Saturday.