Blue Demons Battle Back, Fall in Five in Chicago Classic Finale
EVERGREEN PARK, Ill. - DePaul volleyball found itself down 0-2 early, but put together a spirited comeback to force a fifth set against visiting Oregon State on Sunday, September 9, before ultimately falling 3-2 (25-19, 25-12, 22-25, 22-25, 15-11) in their final match at the 2012 Chicago Classic at Mother McAuley Athletic Center.
The Blue Demons fell to 3-6 on the season with the setback. Oregon State, fresh off an upset of No. 2 Penn State on Saturday night, improved its season ledger to 7-2 overall.
The Demons were led on offense by a familiar pair, as freshman Callie Huebener (17 kills) and junior Vesela Zapryanova (14 kills) -- who earned her second All-Tournament Team selection in as many weekends -- were atop the team offensive leader board for all three matches this weekend. Huebener added 15 digs to match a career best and tied Allyson Rooks for the team-high.
Oregon State libero Becky Defoe had a tremendous match defensively, racking up 31 digs in support of Camille Saxton, who led all players with 20 kills and was named the tournament MVP.
Effective at the net, DePaul out-block its first opponent of the weekend 9.5-6.5. In the first two sets, Oregon State was scorching hot - hitting .467 and .531 - before the Blue Demons picked up the defensive intensity (the Beavers would not hit higher than .267 in any of the final three sets).
The Demons dropped set one 25-19, but were dominant early against the Beavers and led as late as 10-9. An attack error would tie things up at 10, and the two teams traded points until 13-13 when a OSU ace gave the Beavers a lead they would not relinquish.
In set two, Oregon State took 5-of-6 points to open the set and ran away 25-12 to take a 2-0 lead in the match, but DePaul would come back strong in set three.
After trailing 4-9 early, the Blue Demons went on a 6-2 run to get within a point at 10-11. DePaul would pull even at 14-14 on an emphatic kill by Rachel Aumann in the middle. The team's first lead came three points later at 17-16 off a Beaver attack error. From that point, the Blue Demons fought off OSU to take the set 25-22.
The Blue Demons dominated set four from the start, running out to a 15-7 adavantage before allowing OSU to creep back into it late. The Beavers got within two, 24-22, but Natalie Rizzo locked up the match at 2-2 with a set-ending kill.
OSU blasted out in front 7-3 to begin the final and deciding set, but DePaul was not done and whittled the lead down to 7-9 on a kill by Laura Witt. The Demons would get no closer, however, dropping the match with a 15-11 decision.
Next up for the Blue Demons is the Loyola Rambler Challenge from Sept. 14-15. DePaul will face South Carolina Upstate, Chicago State and Loyola over the two-day event.
2012 Chicago Classic All-Tournament Team