Volleyball Takes Eighth Straight In Five-Setter Over Radford
Sept. 13, 2013
CHARLESTON, S.C. – Senior Natalie Rizzo had a career-best 17 kills as DePaul volleyball escaped Radford, 3-2 (25-22, 18-25, 25-21, 23-25, 15-6), on Friday at The Citadel Invitational inside the McAlister Fieldhouse.
With the victory, DePaul moves to 8-0 on the season and just one win away from matching a program-best 9-0 start set by the 2001 team. Radford, which had won three in a row, falls to 6-3 with the setback.
The Blue Demons were led by outside hitter Vesela Zapryanova’s 19 kills – a match-high, as well as a season-best for Zapryanova – and Rizzo, who continued to be remarkably efficient from the middle, hitting .382 (17-4-34). Sophomore Abbie Fleener also contributed 13 kills to the offense, which hummed along for a .308 hitting percentage – the sixth time in eight matches the Blue Demons have hit over .300.
Sophomore setter Colleen Smith played the architect, lining up a career-high 57 assists – the most for DePaul since 2007 – and adding four kills and six digs.
Defensively, senior libero Allyson Rooks led the team with 21 digs. Zapryanova added 12 for her second double-double of the day and 13th of her career.
In set one, Zapryanova came out firing with seven kills as the Blue Demons hit .350 in a 25-22 set win. Set two was a complete reversal, however, as DePaul’s attack percentage dipped to .077 in a 25-18 loss.
The Blue Demons found their rhythm again in the third frame as Zapryanova ripped off six more kills and the team hit .359. The Highlanders led as late as 13-12 in the set before DePaul went on a 4-0 run to take the lead for good in a 25-21 win.
Radford refused to let the match go easily, however, blasting the ball at a .531 clip in set four. DePaul hit .395 for the set, but could not close out the match after being tied at 22. A DePaul error and two kills by Radford standout Jordan Watson made it a 2-2 match.
In the deciding fifth frame, Fleener, Rizzo and Callie Huebener answered the bell with three straight kills to open up the set. Radford battled back to within one, 6-5, but the Blue Demons took over from there – hitting .462 overall to escape with the win, 15-6.
DePaul is back in action for one final match on Saturday, facing The Citadel at 11:00 a.m. CT for its third straight tournament championship and a chance at a 9-0 start for the first time since 2001.
Match notes: Rizzo’s 17 kills were a career-high, surpassing her previous mark set August 26, 2011 at South Dakota… Smith’s 57 assists were the most for DePaul since Christy Landschoot posted 58 at West Virginia on Sept. 21, 2007… Radford out-blocked DePaul 12-6, marking the first time the Blue Demons have been beaten on the block this season… the Blue Demons hit at least .300 for the sixth time in eight matches… the team’s 67 assists were the most for DePaul since Sept. 27, 2005 versus Bradley (69)… the team’s 72 kills were the most for DePaul since burying 74 versus Samford on Sept. 7, 2007… the Blue Demons have now won 10-straight matches going back to 2012, moving within one of the team’s second-longest winning streak (11) set in 1991… DePaul has now won two five-set matches, the most since the 2011 team captured three…