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Volleyball team returning to NEC playoffs
The Quinnipiac volleyball team finished its regular season on Nov. 6 with a 3-5 record in the Northeast Conference (NEC). Whether or not it would advance to the NEC tournament, however, was not decided until last weekend, when the rest of the NEC wrapped up its regular season.
But thanks to a little help from in-state rivals Central Connecticut State, which defeated Wagner on the final day of regular season play, the Bobcats (3-5 in NEC, 6-18 overall) secured the sixth and final playoff spot in the NEC.
The NEC volleyball tournament will be played Nov. 18-20 at Long Island University. Quinnipiac’s opponent and game time have yet to be determined.
Coach Ryan Woodcock labeled the Bobcats’ regular season as inconsistent.
“We have played the top teams in the conference and pushed them to the limit, but have had disappointing outcomes,” Woodcock said.
Woodcock also believes that the team’s record does not reflect its overall talent. He hopes that the close games that the team has played will help them in the NEC tournament.
Junior Julie Zitterkopf, who plays middle hitter and middle blocker, also noted the team’s schedule.
“It was difficult, I think a lot of the games were closer then our record reflects,” Zitterkopf said.
Both Woodcock and Zitterkopf said that injuries during the season hurt the team’s performance in conference games.
Quinnipiac will be looking for its first NEC tournament win.
“I expect the first game to be very good. The NEC is much more evened out this year, every game should be close,” Woodcock said.
The fact that every team is at the same playing level can be seen in the standings. Central Connecticut State, which had held the top spot in the conference, dropped three spots to fourth-place in one weekend.
The team has had the week off from all practices and meetings. Woodcock felt that his team needed the rest so that it would be ready for the NEC tournament.
Zitterkopf is graduating a year early as a double major. Depending on how Quinnipiac fares at the tournament, these will be her last games as a member of the Quinnipiac volleyball team.
“I can’t believe it has been three years,” Zitterkopf said. “I fell in love with this team the second I got here.”
She explained how the airline lost her luggage on her recruiting trip, which led to her being thrown in with the team.
Zitterkopf has loved the team ever since then and wants a chance to go to the NEC championship to try to get the team’s first ever playoff win and create a memory in her last year.