NEW BRITAIN — The Golden Shovel Award goes to Central Connecticut State University volleyball’s senior defensive specialist Lindsey Massicotte, and the former Maloney multisport athlete is diggin’ it.
A hint or two of sadness shrouded Massicotte’s domain last weekend when the last match of her career ended in a grueling five-set defeat at LIU-Brooklyn in the NEC Tournament final. But Massicotte’s accomplishments as a Division I walk-on earned her a niche in NCAA annals.
On November 10, in a four-set win at St. Francis University, Massicotte made 46 digs, the most turned in by a Division I player this season and 11th highest in history and seventh most in a four-set match. She exceeded her own school record, ended ninth on CCSU’s all-time digs list and established a new NEC plateau.
She was named to the All-NEC Tournament squad and second-team All-NEC for the season.
“In some of the rallies I knew I dug four balls in one rally,” Massicotte said. “I only had about four in the first set. All of them were from the last three. There were a lot of tips and small plays, not free balls, but they still count. [Coach Linda Sagnelli] came into the locker room afterwards and said, ‘What the heck! They told me that’s the most anyone’s had in a match.’”
Massicotte made 580 digs while playing every set of every match this season for the Blue Devils, who went 19-8 overall and shared the NEC regular-season title at 11-3. She averaged 5.27 digs per set and made just 18 serve receive errors. She was cited three times as NEC Defensive Player of the Week and earned Player of the Week honors once.
“The main skill is having your eyes go from the ball to the passer, the ball to the hitter, the ball to the setter,” said Massicotte, explaining how she developed such defensive prowess. “It’s constant eye movement. It’s not something I really had to focus on. It was easy for me to pick up. The fun part is figuring out where the ball is going to be hit. If you don’t let the ball hit the floor, it’s frustrating for the other team.”
With 23 digs in the finale against LIU-Brooklyn, Massicotte ended her career with 1,004 in 84 matches.
“I was very upset Saturday night,” she said. “In my three years before with the team, the dynamic definitely wasn’t the same as it was for me this year, and not because it’s my last year. We got so far and did so well because of the team we had. Having a common goal was the best experience. Winning would have been better but it got me to 1,000 digs and that’s cool.”
Massicotte said the decision she made to walk on at Division I rather than play D2 or D3 wound up suiting her perfectly.
“There was no question for me. It was necessary,” she said. “I love the sport and wanted to see how far I could take it. I never saw it as affecting my academics. If anything, it helped me with all things – time management, leadership, working with others. It is like a full-time job – countless hours, the mental part. The hardest part is setting priorities, working with the coach, dealing with criticism and getting out of it what you can to improve yourself. It will help me in getting job.”
With graduate school and a career in speech pathology on the near horizon, Massicotte has the yen to coach. Perhaps it runs in the family seeing that her uncle Howie Hewitt built a two-sport coaching career at Maloney and ranks as one of the most prolific and successful in the state.
“If I had just played in high school and then coached, I wouldn’t be ready,” Massicotte said. “I feel like I have much more knowledge than I ever thought I would from knowing what it’s like to play at Division I with intensity and full focus for four years. It makes me want to teach kids so they can understand the whole game.”