Blue Demons drop a five-set heartbreaker in the final game of the DePaul Invitational
Aug. 25, 2012
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CHICAGO - The DePaul volleyball team was on the other end of the five-set thriller in the evening session of the DePaul Invitational and suffered a 3-2 loss to Butler -- the Invitational's Champion -- on Saturday at McGrath-Phillips Arena.
Callie Huebener led the Blue Demons' offensive efforts with 14 kills, chipped in 12 digs and added four block assists. Rachel Aumann (13) and Vesela Zapryanova (11) were also frequent targets of Blue Demon setter Aubree Hord, who dished out a season-best 42 assists.
Also having a season-best night was DePaul freshman libero Tyler Graham who registered 22 digs, which paced the floor, while the Blue Demons' 62 digs were also a season-high.
Morgan Peterson, who was named the tournament's MVP, guided the Butler offense with 42 assists and added five digs and two block assists. Belle Obert, who was named to the All-Tournament Team, paced the Bulldogs' offense with 16 kills and a .351 attack percentage.
DePaul (1-2) got off to a slow start and managed just seven kills and hit -.069 in the first set. Conversely, the Bulldogs hit .350 for the set. Even with the Blue Demons not swinging well, the set was tied five times before Butler used a 6-2 run and took a 20-16 advantage on a Blue Demon attack error. Butler won the first stanza, 25-17, behind five kills from Obert.
Looking to rebound from their first set, the Blue Demons came alive and raced out to a 12-5 advantage behind three kills from Huebener and a pair from Aumann. With the Blue Demons firing on all cylinders, the DePaul crowd got fired up and began raucously cheering for the home team.
The Blue Demons continued to terminate the ball well and extended its second-set advantage to 17-10 on an Abbie Fleener kill. Butler would get a close as four (22-18), but a Blue Demon block by Aumann and Fleener would put an exclamation point on an exciting 25-20 set-two victory.
Reeling from its second-set win, the Blue Demons picked up right where they left off - with explosive hitting and strong defense highlighting the third stanza.
The two teams traded points in the third set, which saw two early ties, before Zapryanova broke a 10-all score with a well-placed and hard-hitting kill. The Blue Demons continued to string points together and opened up a 16-12 advantage when Aumann and Huebener teamed up to block Erica Stahl. Zapryanova served for five of DePaul's final six points and put the set away with her third kill of the stanza.
Heading into the fourth set, the Blue Demons could not muster any offense. Butler (2-1) on the other hand used 13 kills to cruise to a 25-14 victory and send the match into a deciding set.
Heading into the winner-take-all frame, the Blue Demons and Bulldogs traded points and DePaul took a 5-4 lead on a Zapryanova kill. Butler answered with a 4-1 run which prompted DePaul to use its final timeout. Rizzo served up and ace to pull the Blue Demons within two (12-10), but the Bulldogs would win the remaining three points and were crowned the tournament's champion.
DePaul hits the road next weekend for the UT Martin Invitational and will play Wright State, Troy and UT Martin during the two-day tournament, Aug. 31-Sept. 1.
Shea Doran, Indiana State
Stephanie Wallace, Eastern Illinois
Natalie Rizzo, DePaul
Erica Stahl, Butler
Belle Obert, Butler
Tournament MVP: Morgan Peterson, Butler
Notes: Aubree Hord recorded a season-high 35 assists... DePaul has had at least one player record a double-double in its of its matches this season -- Vesela Zapryanova (12 digs, 12 kills) against Eastern Illinois, Callie Huebener 15 kills 12 digs versus Indiana State and 14 kills and 12 digs against Butler... second time this season DePaul had three players finish in double-digit kills... Tyler Graham recorded a season-high 22 digs and has reached double-digit dig totals in all three matches.