Volleyball Sweeps Loyola at Chicagoland Challenge
Sept. 3, 2011
CHICAGO - The DePaul volleyball team rebounded from a tough loss in the opening round of the Chicagoland Challenge on Friday to win Saturday's consolation match. The Blue Demons (2-4) picked up their first sweep of the season as they defeated the Loyola Chicago Ramblers (0-4) in straight sets by scores of 25-21, 25-21, and 25-14.
"I'm excited," DePaul head coach Nadia Edwards said following the cross-town contest. "Our girls came out with excitement and with energy. They were focused."
After the Blue Demons fell behind early in the opening set, huge attacking efforts from freshman Amy Lanski and junior Rachel Aumann rallied DePaul. Lanski racked up eight kills to just one error in the set for a .583 percentage while Aumann hit .462 with seven kills.
With the score at 15-12 in favor of Loyola, freshman Katie Gamsky entered and provided an immediate spark, notching an assist by setting up Aumann. After some back-and-forth action, DePaul fought to bring the score even at 18-18, 19-19, and 20-20 before taking the lead thanks to timely blocks and consistent pressure on the attack. The Blue Demons went up 23-21 forcing Loyola into a timeout. Following the stoppage, the Gamsky-Aumann connection put DePaul up 24-21 and a blocking error by the Ramblers gave the Blue Demons the opening frame.
DePaul, who won the first set in its Friday matchup against Illinois-Chicago only to drop the next three, battled for a different outcome in the ensuing sets against the Ramblers. The squads traded points in the early goings of the second set before DePaul etched out a 10-7 lead. Loyola pulled level at 11 but the Blue Demons registered 11 of the next 14 points to grab a commanding 22-14 lead. The Ramblers burned both of their timeouts in that span before pulling back to within five at 22-17 and a DePaul timeout. The Blue Demons notched the first point out of the quick break but Loyola collected four straight to make it 23-21 and a pressure situation. DePaul rebounded with two the snag the second set and take a 2-0 lead.
DePaul came out firing in the third frame, looking for its first three-set sweep of the season. The Blue Demons got out to a 9-5 lead before Loyola called its first timeout. It remained a close match with both teams maintaining a steady pace throughout before DePaul reestablished a four-point margin at 18-14. Looking to close it out, the Blue Demons and sophomore Allyson Rooks took over. Rooks served out the remainder of the contest and offered up two service aces. DePaul went on a 10-0 run to finish out the match with Aumann knocking down four consecutive kills to end it.
The second-year head coach pointed to the efforts of Aumann and junior libero Kelsey Bowler as difference makers at the Chicagoland Challenge. On Aumann, Edwards noted that she "established herself as an offensive weapon all round," especially in the matchup versus Loyola. Edwards cited Bowler's weekend performance as notable. She continued, "Kelsey Bowler was very impressive with her ball control all weekend. She really set the tone throughout both matches and provided stability."
"I think it was a good match against a good team," Edwards said. "Loyola is probably going to do some good things this season."
The Blue Demons return home for their season opener on Sunday afternoon for a noon matchup against visiting Montana State at the McGrath-Phillips Arena.
Notes: Aumann finished the day hitting .414 over three sets with a match-high 15 kills...she tallied 29 kills and hit .393 in the tournament...Lanski finished Saturday with a .320 hitting percentage and 13 kills...Kelsey Bowler registered a match-high 14 digs.