Coming off a tournament in which it challenged two of the country’s top teams — American University and No. 9 Penn State University — the volleyball squad can look forward to slightly less formidable teams this weekend in the Central Connecticut Invitational.
The Bulldogs (2-4) open tonight against Stony Brook University and play Rider and Central Connecticut State University Saturday. But while these teams do not have the talent that American and Penn State possessed, they each pose a unique threat to the Bulldogs.
“This is more like Ivy League competition,” coach Peg Scofield said. “None of the teams are pushovers, but we’re hoping to compete in and win every match.”
In fact, this might be a step above league competition, as two of the teams have posted wins over Ivy League squads.
Stony Brook, coming out of the America East Conference, is 10-6 on the season and won 3-1 against Harvard. Both the Bulldogs and the Seawolves have already notched victories over Sacred Heart.
“[Stony Brook is] an up-and-coming team,” Scofield said. “They have a fast attack and strong defense. “They’ve already received some votes for a regional ranking.”
The Bulldogs will have to contend with the Seawolf duo of LaToya Beverly — an outside hitter voted American East Player of the Week early this year — and Julie Zub, who earned Setter of the Week.
While Rider is only 3-10, they are coming off a 3-0 win over Dartmouth Tuesday night.
In the nightcap, the Bulldogs face the Central Connecticut (4-10), who are another program on the rise, Scofield said.
“Their coach is in her third year, and they’re now fully funded in terms of scholarship money,” Scofield said. “Their talent level has gone up.”
Scofield said the team has had an excellent week of practice and has accomplished what it needed to following the losses last weekend. While the Bulldogs might not be able to coast through this weekend, it should be a good barometer of how much the team has progressed and how much work it has left with league competition rapidly approaching.